Misdirected force is misspent

Officialdom's attempts to hinder journalists from performing their duties are as common an occurrence as they are a time-worn phenomenon.

Officialdom's attempts to hinder journalists from performing their duties are as common an occurrence as they are a time-worn phenomenon.

Though unwelcome, such obstruction hardly comes as a surprise - especially when the focus of the media spotlight is the undesirable underbelly of officialdom.

We would have thought that, almost 13 years into our democracy, officialdom would have gotten used to cooperating with the media - and notably to acknowledge that its right to access public information is sacrosanct.

But the incidence of police giving the media a hard time while on duty is an occupational hazard to be expected. This happened once again on Monday when journalists covering the case of four policemen accused of robbing a supermarket were harassed by one Inspector Tshika at the Germiston magistrates' court. He was obviously not too happy that the media spotlight was being cast on four of his police colleagues facing charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances.

In a typical case of misdirected anger, Tshika snatched SABC reporter Nokwazi Tshabalala's notebook and menacingly glared at journalists from Beeld and The Star.

We would have doffed our hats at Tshika if his public display of bravado had been directed at the country's rampant criminals rather than soft targets.

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