A journalist was attacked by a political leader in Cape Town, South Africa on 20 March while covering a story outside the parliament. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Media Workers' Association of South Africa (MWASA) in condemning the attack and demanding respect for press freedom in the country.
On Tuesday 20 March, journalist Adrian De Kock, working for Netwerk24, was attacked outside the parliament in Cape Town by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) deputy president Floyd Shivambu as De Kock took a picture of him and asked for a comment.
Shivambu then proceeded to attack him with two other men, demanding he deletes the photo and trying to break his equipment.
De Kock then fought back and yelled multiple times “leave my stuff alone”, as seen on a video released.
Shivambu published an apology later accepting that his impatience was inappropriate.
While welcoming the politician’s apology, IFJ president Philippe Leruth warned against any attempts to silence the press. “ There should be no reason for public figures to attack journalists for doing their jobs. We are dismayed by the act of violence De Cock had to face for just doing his job. Press freedom should not come at a price. It is a key pillar of democracy and South African political leaders should ensure that our colleagues can report freely without fear or intimidation .”
MWASA General Secretary Tuwan Gumani said “ Journalists' professional and labour rights are human rights. The protection of workers is the responsibility of all members of society and the swift action by social media practitioners in recording and publishing the violent assault against the journalist is especially commended. If this was not publicized, it may have never come to light. A deeper dialogue must be encouraged to dispel the basis for growing impunity that follows on token apologies offered by violators of the rights of fellow citizens. “
MWASA encouraged those who thrive on publicity and depend on the work of media practitioners to respect the personal, human and professional rights of all media practitioners and media institutions.