The South African Editors’ Forum (Sanef) said Eyewitness News (EWN) journalist Barry Bateman’s behaviour was unprofessional.
Sanef was referring to the debacle surrounding Bateman where he was caught on camera calling Economic Freedom Fighter (EFF) leader Julius Malema a “p**s” after an interview on Tuesday.
Bateman has been trending on Twitter with the video widely shared on social media.
Sanef released a brief statement where it said it noted the “raging debacle on the matter of 702 journalist, Barry Bateman, and his uttering of an unsavoury word in public allegedly aimed at EFF leader Julius Malema.”
“Sanef notes the concerns raised by the supporters of the EFF. We also note that employer Primedia has apologised and has launched an investigation into the matter,” the statement said.
“Sanef does not condone the unprofessional behaviour on the part of any journalist. However, we believe this should not be used as an excuse to trigger an all-out attack on the media and journalists as a collective. Rather than a verdict being debated on social media, we ask that this matter be dealt with via the media house concerned.”
The EFF has rejected EWN’s apology to Malema, calling it “lukewarm”.
According to EWN, Bateman was taken off air immediately after they were made aware of the video and said they will hold an internal probe that would deal with the matter appropriately.
Malema was addressing the media following a meeting with the Hawks on Tuesday, where he was scheduled to deliver a warning statement.
The warning statement relates to charges stemming from allegations that he discharged a firearm at a rally in East London.
Malema told reporters that the charges against him were politically motivated, he challenged the Hawks to make a sound decision when charging him.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi said the charges would be finalised next week.
Malema is also facing charges of aggravated assault in a separate matter after footage was released of him and party spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi allegedly in an altercation with a police officer at the funeral of struggle stalwart Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Reacting to the charges, Malema said he would never apologise to the white man who refused him entry to the grave site of Madikizela-Mandela.
“When I came out of the car, I said to him: ‘Chief what are you doing now?’ with the hope that the guy will recognise me, and he says: ‘No, you are not going to enter here.’ A big, white Afrikaner male stopping me from burying Winnie Mandela. I had to be next to the coffin and no white man was going to stop me, if that means I must go to prison let it be. No one was going to stop me from burying Winnie Mandela, it was not going to happen,” Malema said.
Bateman then asked: “So you did attack him?”
To which Malema responded, facing Bateman directly: “If that is an attack, take it! It is. Take it! For Winnie I will do everything, I did that when she was alive, I will do that even now.”
When asked by Bateman if the footage of Malema assaulting the man was indeed correct, Malema responded saying: “I wish I did that, I wish I assaulted him. Now that it’s a real issue, I wish I did the real thing, proper. I regret not doing it. So that I deal with real stuff. Me, I’m not scared boet, uniform or no uniform. Afrikaner or no Afrikaner. White or pink, I deal with you decisively.”
As Malema walked away from the journalists gathered around him, Bateman then used the expletive while speaking to one of the journalists.