Task team to tackle media, police communication

A high-level task team will be formed to discuss communication problems between the media and police, the South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) and the South African Police Service said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

This was decided after a meeting between police National Commissioner Bheki Cele and a delegation from Sanef in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

A variety of “operational communication issues” were discussed.

The task team will comprise members from both parties.

“I heard a variety of concerns from the editors, which included the arrest of journalists, problems they are experiencing at crime scenes, and an apparent lack of information at times,” Cele said.

“We have to find an amicable solution for both the police and the media. We must allow both parties to do their jobs without any problems.”

The two-hour long talks followed a meeting between Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa and Deputy Minister Fikile Mbalula with Sanef earlier this month.

At Wednesday’s meeting it was explained that police were restructuring their communications department as there are “too many” spokespersons all over the country.

Cele said: “When police are doing bad, media can bash us, but when the police are doing good they should be given a pat on the back.”

Sanef chairperson Jovial Rantao said the media was committed to accurate, balanced and fair reporting.

“It is important for the police to share their good efforts in order for the media to report their successes,” he said.—Sapa


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