Photographer charged and beaten by police for shooting a lockdown enforcement in South Africa

May 19, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

Photographer charged and beaten by police for shooting a lockdown enforcement in South Africa

May 19, 2020

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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On 15 May, police officers in Meqheleng, South Africa reportedly beat photographer Paul Nthoba. He was photographing them for a local newspaper while they were enforcing the coronavirus lockdown. However, they allegedly attacked him verbally at first, and later physically – multiple times.

Nthoba, who is the owner and editor of Mohokare News, spoke to CPJ (Committee to Protect Journalists) about the incident. According to him, the incident began while he was taking photos of the police officers on patrol enforcing the area’s coronavirus lockdown. Nthoba says that one of the officers first insulted him verbally, saying something offensive about his mother. When he approached the officers, they started beating him.

The photographer recorded the audio of the incident on his phone. CPJ writes that, in the recording, Nthoba asks the officers why they are beating him. You can hear him shouting, and you can hear the blows. One of the officers can be heard demanding that Nthoba hands over his phone. The photographer says that the officers grabbed his phone, but couldn’t delete the photos because the phone was password protected.

But it doesn’t end here. After the attack, Nthoba filed a complaint against the officers at Ficksburg police station. The same officers arrived at the station while he was giving a statement, and he says that they tried to make him hand over his phone again. When he refused, another round beatings ensued, according to Nthoba, all in the presence of a senior officer at the station.

Nthoba told CPJ that the officers confiscated his phone, and the senior officer told him “that he was wrong to have photographed the officers without permission.” The photographer was detained in the police station for four hours and the charges were filed against him. He was charged with obstructing law enforcement under a COVID-19 regulation of the Disaster Management Act of 2002, as he told CPJ. If convicted, he could face a fine and up to six months in prison.

Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, said:

“Authorities must do the right thing and immediately drop the charge against Paul Nthoba, who was insulted and gratuitously assaulted by police for simply chronicling them at work. For the same officers to feel so emboldened that they could beat him again, this time in a police station in front of a senior officer when he sought to open an assault case, is beyond belief. Authorities must not let them get away with this violence and intimidation toward the press.”

After the police filed the charges against Nthoba, they returned his phone and released him from the station. According to CPJ, he is due to appear in court on 27 August.

[via FStoppers]

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Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic

Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.

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14 responses to “Photographer charged and beaten by police for shooting a lockdown enforcement in South Africa”

  1. Michael Estwik Avatar
    Michael Estwik

    You might reconsider the use of the word shooting. Even if we might understand the term, it would be much better if you used the following:

    Photographer charged and beaten by police for taking photos of a lockdown enforcement in South Africa

    1. Don Navarro Avatar
      Don Navarro

      Michael Estwik you realize that this is a photography page right?

    2. Michael Estwik Avatar
      Michael Estwik

      Don Navarro yes, and did you really read what I wrote?

    3. Don Navarro Avatar
      Don Navarro

      Michael Estwik yes. A photographer taking photos. Sounds swell lol

    4. Michael Estwik Avatar
      Michael Estwik

      Don Navarro not that part.
      “Even if we might understand the term”…

    5. Basia Kowalska Avatar
      Basia Kowalska

      Why?

    6. Michael Estwik Avatar
      Michael Estwik

      Basia Kowalska one, Facebook is a bit sensitive when it comes to the word shooting and especially together with people. One got banned due to he put the word together with “at a Muslim wedding”.

      Shooting isn’t really the correct term, even if we are accustomed to it. Outsiders might not, until they read the article.

    7. Vincent Reyna Avatar
      Vincent Reyna

      Maybe that is why they used that term… for the clicks…

    8. Brenda Jamieson Avatar
      Brenda Jamieson

      There is so much gun violence in South Africa, that shooting means with a gun. The AK 47 being the gun of choice. I left S A with ptsd and 16 years later still am haunted by the crimes inflicted on me. I hope the photographer is safe and is being cared for. The rest of the world has no idea the volume and the degree of the violent crime there is in what was once a beautiful place.

    9. Reynardt Badenhorst Avatar
      Reynardt Badenhorst

      Brenda Jamieson yup, moved to New Zealand a year ago, best decision for the kid’s sake. But sad to leave our friends and family behind :(

    10. suruha Avatar
      suruha

      Kind of changes the meaning of

      “I shot the sheriff,
      But, I did not shoot the deputy!”

      LOL

  2. Reynardt Badenhorst Avatar
    Reynardt Badenhorst

    That’s why we immigrated away from that horrid country. Sad to leave all our people behind in such a dark country. The world has no idea what’s going on there.

  3. Robert Bray Avatar
    Robert Bray

    No first amendment rights in South Africa!

  4. Peter Foote Avatar
    Peter Foote

    My good friend has had the cops tell him to shut up about what happens in his African country.