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Sanef urges political parties not to interfere with journos doing their job

Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams tried to stop an SABC journalist from capturing visuals at an Eastern Cape ANC manifesto rally on Saturday.

FILE: Communications Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams at a communications briefing at the ANC national policy conference on 5 July 2017. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has called on all political parties not to interfere with journalists carrying out their duties.

This after Communications Minister Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams tried to stop an SABC journalist from capturing visuals at an Eastern Cape ANC manifesto rally on Saturday.

Ndabeni-Abrahams put her hand in front of the camera lens and has since apologised.

Sanef says that Minister Ndabeni-Abrahams’s interference with journalists reporting on a protest at the ANC’s Badibanise Stadium rally in KwaBhaca cannot be described as an "altercation".

The organisation’s media freedom chairperson, Mary Papayya, says that the SABC airing visuals of the incident is "a shift from the recent past where freedom of expression was undermined at the public broadcaster."

"While we note the minister has apologised for the incident, we are concerned that she refers to her actions as an altercation. There was no altercation. Given the minister's high profile role, relating in particular to the SABC, we would like to have an urgent meeting with her to discuss the matter."

Papayya has further highlighted the importance of press freedom in the country.

"We will continue to champion the cause of independent journalism to support journalists under threat in our country."

Ndabeni-Abrahams has released a statement saying that she regrets her actions but she has not been available for further comment.

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