Right2Know organisation had issued tips on the media’s right to film and photograph police officers.
Rekord’s journalist, Eliot Mahlase, was detained by members of the Tshwane metro police in April when he took photos of officers arresting a man in Lynnwood.
Right2Know said the South African Police Service (SAPS) almost never have the right to stop the media from taking photos or videos, as indicated by the SAPS Standing Order 156. The order, however, does not apply to metro police departments, which are separate from the SAPS.
“SAPS issued Standing Order 156 in 2003 – it is an extensive directive to all SAPS members on how they should interact with the media. It contains a number of instructions against interfering with the taking of photographs and video. But be warned: Standing Order 156 refers to ‘media representatives’ but it is vague on who qualifies.”