National Press concerned about journalists being threatened while reporting

The National Press Club is concerned about reports that journalists were threatened by the police at the Tshwane Events Centre this afternoon. The journalists were trying to report and take pictures of the alleged shooting at the African National Congress’s Tshwane Mayoral elective conference.

Deputy Chairperson of the National Press Club and Rekord Content Manager, Simone Heradien, was on Sunday forbidden by the South African Police Services to take photos within a public precinct of an alleged crime scene.

The incident took place opposite the Tshwane Events Centre where the Tshwane region of the African National Congress was holding its Tshwane mayoral elective conference to decide on a candidate.

Allegedly, according to bystanders, there was a dispute amongst members which saw the incident spill onto the street. Details of exactly what happened were still not clear at the time of the incident and it is not clear how the incident is related to the conference.

While taking photos, Colonel Modise of Central SAPS told Heradien that she could not take photos despite the fact that she was on the side of the street in a public spot, clear of the police cordoned off taped barricade of the alleged crime scene.

Explaining to Colonel Modise that he was interfering with media freedom and that it remained entirely legal to take photos within a public space, he insisted that no photos be taken. In addition, Heradien was equally threatened by ANC supporters/members in ANC-T-shirts not to take photos. “We want no journalists”, one said. “We’ll take your camera and break it,” he added.

As there was a strong police presence, Heradien ensconced her within that security to remain safe while taking more pictures

A journalist from Pretoria News, Sakhile Nldazi, was also threatened by the same ANC supporters/members from reporting on the incident. He was also told that media was not welcome on the scene nor to report on the matter, or take photos.

Tanya de Vente-Bijker, chairperson of the National Press Club, said the club condemned the interfering of media in the workplace. According to The SAPS Standing Order number 156 Section 10 (a) (c) “a media representative may not be prohibited from taking photographs or making visual recordings.” She said journalists should be allowed to report the news without any fear, intimidation or harassment.

For more information
Simone Heradien
Deputy Chairperson: National Press Club
073 207 1558

Martin van Niekerk
083 447 4864
Secretariat: National Press Club