South African Police brutality; forced Journalist to Delete Photos 

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March 22, Johannesburg: On March 11 a Journalist has been mistreated and compelled to erase pictures by what appears to be security officials close to the Parliamentary area in front of President Jacob Zuma’s question and answer session.

Thirty-three-year-old Jan Gerber, a Parliamentary reporter for Media 24, told CPJ committee to protect journalist that he was taking photos of individuals wearing white shirts and dark jeans, standing underneath a police flag across the street from Parliament. Two of them crossed the road and asked him what he was doing and he clarified he was a journalist, then three more men join them and attempted to take the cam but he stood up to them. He said they then tossed him to the ground and attempted to drag him.

He further mentioned to CPJ “They tried to take my camera; there was a bit of a struggle because I tried to keep it. They then dragged me to the ground, took my camera and tried to delete the photos but they couldn’t. They then wanted to drag me across the street into the office, which they said was the VIP policing office.”

In response, the South African National Editors’ forum (Sanef) has condemned what it calls the ‘thuggish behavior’ by member of the police.

Chairperson of CPJ has said that he believed the heavy-handed behavior of police was linked to the “increasing militarization” of the SAPS which started about five years ago, according to research cited in news report. A year ago, police shot dead a freelance community-based photographer, according to CPJ, and an official commission of inquiry still has to deliver its report into the police shooting of striking miners at Marikana in the North-West Province in August 2012 in which 34 protesters were killed. He further said “We hope this will be communicated thoroughly to the entire service,” he said. “It is dangerous for a democracy when a police service starts to view itself as above the law.”

The Oslo Times

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