• Thu. Jan 20th, 2022

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Elections 2021: IEC to probe the arrest of Newzroom Afrika journalist


Nov 1, 2021

The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) says it will look into the circumstances surrounding the arrest of Newzroom Afrika journalist Ziniko Mhlaba on Monday, 1 November 2021. Mhlaba was handcuffed while he was covering the local government elections for the independent broadcaster in Soweto.

The incident played out during a live broadcast at a voting station in Orlando East. A police officer stood between Mhlaba and the camera, in an attempt to block him from broadcasting images from the centre.  

SAPS, which claims Mhlaba’s work for Newzroom Afrika ‘interfered with the work of the presiding officer’ at the voting station, will also be investigating his arrest.

“It is rather unfortunate that this situation resulted in a confrontation between the police and the journalist. This matter has since been escalated to the Provincial Commissioner of Gauteng who ordered both the release of the journalist and an investigation into this matter,” said spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.

Mhlaba was placed in the back of a police van and thrown into a holding cell.

[BREAKING NEWS] #Newzroom405‘s Journalist detained by cops during #LGE2021 coverage.

Tune into channel 405 for more details on this story.#Vote21 pic.twitter.com/wXFR1q74a3

— Newzroom Afrika (@Newzroom405) November 1, 2021

Newzroom Afrika bosses fuming after journo’s arrest

The IEC has also expressed its regret over the incident and now Newzroom Afrika bosses are now calling for heads to roll for how Mhlaba was treated.

The Electoral Commission regrets the arrest of a Newzroom Afrika journalist at a voting station in Soweto. After intervention of the Commission the journalist has been released and an investigation into the circumstances of his arrest will be instituted

IEC Chairperson Glen Mashinini

Newzroom Afrika’s Katy Katopodis says they have already taken the matter up with both SAPS and the IEC.

“We are absolutely outraged and we have taken this up at the highest of levels with both SAPS and the IEC. It is an attack on media freedom and it is an abuse of power by police,” she said.

While he has been released, Katopodis says this is something they are taking quite seriously.

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