SAFREA joins the call to halt attacks on journalists in KZN
The Southern African Freelancers' Association (SAFREA) joined in the call for an end to attacks on journalists in KwaZulu-Natal that prevents them from doing their job.
The organisation was part of the Durban Dialogues multi-stakeholder Media Freedom Round Table where the recent spate of attacks on journalists in the region was strongly condemned. The discussions, convened by the South African National Editors' Forum (SANEF) and Durban Dialogues, a platform that promotes dialogue and discussion, took place at the ICC on Tuesday, 19 June 2018.
It was attended by title editors from key media institutions, journalists and representatives of SANEF and SAFREA.
In recent months, journalists in the region have come under attack at service delivery protests, while some have experienced verbal and physical abuse and have been manhandled by police at crime scenes. It is of concern that some journalists are also receiving threatening phone calls from certain political leaders.
At the recent court appearance of former president, Jacob Zuma, some journalists were intimidated by his supporters. This kind of behaviour has also extended to recent political rallies and gatherings. Intimidation has even crossed virtual boundaries to cyber-bullying, which has forced some journalists to even close their social media accounts.
Stakeholders are of the opinion that if not addressed, these attacks will escalate, especially in the run up to the 2019 general elections.
The following resolutions were taken at Tuesday’s discussions:
Media freedom is enshrined in the constitution of the country. And the safety of journalists is core to upholding this freedom. SAFREA supports the meeting’s stance that it is critical that journalists be able to do their jobs without being in peril. If need be, the authorities, police, the IEC and even the community must rally to protect them.