The South African National Editors Forum (Sanef) has expressed concern over government's response to authorities detaining journalists in Tanzania.
"Sanef is alarmed that International Relations and Cooperation Minister Lindiwe Sisulu went on later to defend the high-handed actions of the Tanzanian government, which claimed that the two media activists had entered the country on incorrect visas.
"Sisulu said they should have travelled on business visas," Sanef chairperson Mahlatse Mahlase said in a statement on Wednesday.
South African journalist Angela Quintal and her Kenyan colleague Muthoki Mumo were detained by Tanzanian authorities on Wednesday last week for working on tourist visas.
Sisulu said at a media briefing in Pretoria on Monday that Quintal and Mumo should have entered the country on business visas if their intention was to interview journalists.
The pair who work for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) embarked on a 10-day visit in Tanzania on October 31.
They claim that the visit was not undercover, and that meetings, conferences and tourism did not require a business visa.
"We even had a letter of invitation from the government-recognised press regulator, the Media Council of Tanzania, and double-checked the visa requirements," Quintal said.
"Regardless of the visa dispute, the two activists insist that they were interrogated, not by immigration officials as claimed by Tanzania and accepted by Sisulu, but by intelligence agents, who were abusive at times, slapping and shoving Mumo," Mahlase added.
Sanef said it was of the view that, based on Quintal's account, this incident was not an ordinary immigration check and urged Sisulu to investigate further.
"Their ordeal points to growing repression in Tanzania and increasing hostility against media practitioners. Sisulu should distance South Africa from such high-handed, unacceptable treatment.
"Some serious transgressions allegedly took place, and we encourage Sisulu to not cover up, but investigate further to establish the full picture," Mahlase concluded.