Apartheid in South Africa | Living under racial segregation and discrimination

Transcript of an African Service News Talk

The dangers facing journalists, particularly in South Africa.

BBC ARCHIVE
WRITTEN DOCUMENT 1977

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AFRICAN SERVICE NEWS TALKS

28th April 1977

THIRD WORLD JOURNALISTS AT RISK:

by Mick Delap (s)

First broadcast Somali 1900 28.4.77

CUE MATERIAL: In Southern Africa a South African correspondent for the BBC,
Mr. Nat Serache, has asked for political asylum in Botswana, after being
tortured during detention by South African Police. Mick Delap comments:

Nat Serache covered last year's disturbances in Soweto for his own paper, the
Rand Daily Mail, and for the BBC African Service's 'Focus on Africa'. He was
arrested by South African Security police several times and held for varying
periods without being charged. Some six weeks ago, after Mr. Serache had left
the Rand Daily Mail to work for the Black Peoples Convention, he was arrested yet
again, and charged with being in possession of subversive literature. Although he
was recently fined for this relatively minor offence, he continued to attract
police interest. Mr. Serache told the BBC yesterday (WEDNESDAY) that it became
clear to him that he was likely to be charged with a much more serious offence,
he fled to Botswana, where he has applied for political asylum. During his
interrogation by South African police, Mr. Serache said he was questioned for
eleven days for periods lasting up to eight hours a day, with other periods
when he was forced to stand without sleep or water from 8 in the evening until six
in the morning. When his answers displeased his interrogators, he was assaulted by
being punched and kicked, or subjected to electric shock treatment, "This involved
me being blind-folded", he said, "the electric wires being placed on my breast or
ears or the genitals." Mr. Serache told the BBC yesterday (WEDNESDAY) that after
his release a Johannesburg doctor told him he had suffered a number of internal
injuries including damage to his prostate gland and kidneys.

Mr. Serache's account of his treatment is significant [handwritten note] because of
accusations that the South African authorities are trying to intimidate journalists
and also when seen against the background [end of handwritten note] of a world-
wide pattern of repression. In South Africa the authorities have detained or
banned a number of journalists, mostly black, following the widely-reported...

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clauses in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states
everyone has the right to 'receive and impart any information through any media'.
It is a clause that many governments around the world who have assented to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights on joining the United Nations prefer to
ignore, [handwritten] especially as far as journalists are concerned.


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Document Type | Transcript

28 April 1977

Document version

Writtenin

1977

Synopsis

Transcript of a report that had been broadcast about the arrest, detention and torture of Nat Serache - a South African correspondent for the BBC. Serache made out an affidavit on his torture and got a doctor's report about his injuries only days after being released in April 1977. He passed copies to the BBC.

Did you know?

After getting asylum in Botswana, Nat Serache decided that reporting on human-rights abuses was not going to end apartheid. He worked for the ANC by teaching young recruits politics before sending them for military training in Angola. Serache later returned to Botswana as a senior diplomat for South Africa.

Contributors

Mick Delap
Reporter
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