Media and police accused of defaming farmers after tractor shooting

Photo: Pixabay. For illustrative purposes.

Agri SA, a non-profit organisation that is helping to develop a stable and profitable agricultural environment within this country, lashed out to the media and the police for “tarnishing the image of farmers” after various media houses inaccurately reported the facts surrounding the death of a farm worker. The victim who was shot and killed on Saturday, 6 January.

The organisation claimed that “false reporting on the incident and poor journalism resulted in farmers’ reputation and public image being tarnished.

Read the initial article here: [Not for sensitive viewers] Security officer fatally shoots tractor ‘thief’ in head

“The unnecessary dissemination of images relating to the incident had a negative effect on the dignity of the victim. This, and the false reporting, is unacceptable,” said Dan Kriek, President of Agri SA.

“The Human Rights Commission, in its 2014 inquiry into security challenges in the farming community, found that the good relationship between farmers and farm workers was not emphasised enough and that negative stereotyping of relationships on farmers should be halted. The wrong information around the Tarlton incident does not help to promote relationships within rural communities.

“This type of information results in the polarisation of communities and is not conducive to nation-building. Today I call on the media and other stakeholders to ensure that information regarding farmers is reported correctly and that the farming community is not unnecessarily condemned for actions in which they had no part,” said Kriek.

He further said that statements such as those regarding the Tarlton incident and the reference to farmers as the guilty party are usually accompanied by emotions and incorrect perceptions about farmers on the part of society at large.

Also Read: Tractor shooting: National Police spokesperson gave the wrong information to the media

“The police and the media have an enormous responsibility to ensure that crime-related incidents and the identity of the guilty parties are correctly reported,” said Kriek.

Agri SA extended its condolences to the family of the murdered farm worker and reiterate that farm workers form an important part of agriculture and, together with farmers, are responsible for providing the people of the country with food.

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Bianca Pindral

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