By KGAUGELO MASWENENG
A crew of SABC reporters in Durban was allegedly harassed and threatened by members of the public on Saturday while covering the lockdown.
“They had been reporting on the impact of the lockdown on rural communities but were later blocked and threatened by a group, not related to their news story,” the SA National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said in a statement on Sunday.
“Thanks to the swift action of members of the Ulundi SAPS, the journalists were not injured. However, Sanef believes that journalists doing essential work — and keeping the public informed — should never be subjected to such traumatic experiences. Community members threatened to burn the SABC news vehicle.”
Sanef called on community leaders, including traditional leaders, across the country to ensure that people are clearly informed about the media’s right to be out in the field, as designated essential workers.
“We have a critical job to play to responsibly inform and educate the public about the spread and containment of the virus.
“In this case it appears that community members turned against the media out of frustration due to their poverty and due to a lack of service delivery,” Sanef said.
Sanef said it was satisfied that the media has complied with government regulations and that journalists in the field are equipped with the relevant press cards and permits to allow them freedom of movement to cover all areas of the country.