Sunday, February 26, 2012

Mandela: Press Club to take up MP's actions

Mandela: Press Club to take up MP's actions
2012-02-26 22:33

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Johannesburg - The National Press Club is to meet Defence Minister Lindiwe Sisulu in Pretoria after MPs briefly detained a Beeld photographer at One Military Hospital, where it was thought ex-president Nelson Nandela was being treated.

By mid-morning on Saturday, news broke that Mandela had been admitted to an undisclosed hospital with a stomach ailment.

This resulted in reporters and photographers rushing from hospital to hospital in Tshwane and Johannesburg trying to locate him.

In Tshwane, Beeld photographer Theana Breugem, who had taken pictures of the One Military Hospital building, was made to delete the pictures after being briefly detained.

Such buildings are assumed to be military key points, with pictures not allowed.

In Johannesburg, journalists were told to vacate the premises of Milpark hospital - where Mandela was treated for a respiratory infection last year.

Press club chair Yusuf Abramjee said he would discuss the treatment of journalists who were stationed outside One Military with Sisulu on Monday.

He said journalists should be treated with respect and allowed to do their job without fear.

"...I've had an indication from the minister's office that she will be happy to meet a delegation from the NPC and the Foreign Correspondents Association hopefully tomorrow [Monday] to discuss the issue," Abramjee said.

"The media has a job to do....I think there could have been some common ground where the defence force could have said let's try to find a resolution or some compromise."


Read more on: npc | lindiwe sisulu | yusuf abramjee | nelson mandela | pretoria | johannesburg | media


Yusuf Abramjee
Media statement by National
Press Club: Saturday 25 Feb 2012: 20h00

While the National Press Club (NPC) welcomes the communication updates from the Presidency on the health and condition of former President Nelson Mandela, the club has questioned the poor handling of the media outside 1 Military Hospital.

... The media started camping out on the main road outside the hospital in Thaba Tshwane shortly after news of his hospitalization broke earlier today.

Military police threatened to arrest journalists and photographers and forced them some 500 meters away from the hospital where Mandela is suspected to have been admitted.

There has been no confirmation so far about where the former president is being treated.

NPC chairman, Yusuf Abramjee, expressed concern at the way Military Police treated journalists today. "The media were alongside a public road.

"The Military Police were like cowboys. They escorted the media away and arrived with blue lights flashing and sirens.

"A Beeld photographer was earlier forced to delete photos of the hospital from her camera," said Abramjee. "They have no right to force anyone to delete photos," , said Abramjee.

Abramjee said while he was on the phone trying to negotiate a spot with a communications officer from the SANDF for the media near the hospital, a military policeman also threatened to arrest him.

"...I asked him what he was waiting for before I decided to move away," said Abramjee.

"We do understand that the hospital is a national key-point. We asked for special permission to be granted but our request was turned down. It's disappointing to see the SANDF treat the media as criminals," he added.

CNN Correspondent in SA, Robyn Curnow tweeted: (@RobynCurnowCNN)
2/25/12 7:50 PM
Why is an old Apartheid law, protecting govt installations, being used to threaten journalists trying to cover #Mandela's illness?

The NPC said it agreed.

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