Police officers assaulted and arrested on 27 July, three journalists from the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) group and their driver in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital city.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) the world’s largest organization of journalists, joins its affiliate the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in condemning a direct attack against media workers and the government’s attempt to silence the press.
Journalists Abigail Matsikidze, Obey Manayiti and photographer Shepard Tozvireva from AMH as well as their driver Raphael Phiri were brutally assaulted by plain-clothed police officers and arrested on Thursday 27 July.
The ZUJ has confirmed their release.
According to media reports, the journalists were accused of taking photographs of a scuffle between spike-throwing traffic officers and members of the public.
Officers reportedly manhandled Manayiti and bashed him with open palms and fists. He sustained a bruised cheek and lips.The journalist was reportedly detained and later released after being charged with assault.
Journalist Abigail Matsikidze, photographer Shepherd Tozvireva and driver Raphael Phiri were not harmed during the assault.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists( ZUJ) strongly condemns the brutal attack, arrest and detention of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) journalists Obey Manayiti, Abigail Matsikidze, Shepherd Tozvireva and driver Raphael Phiri in central Harare while lawfully executing their duties.
“This barbaric act by the police, in flagrant infringement of the freedom of the media and freedom of expression as guaranteed by the country’s supreme law, is unacceptable and should not be tolerated in a democracy“, the union said. “ZUJ urges the police to make a commitment and denounce these kind of acts.”
IFJ said: “This type of assault jeopardizes the press and democracy in Zimbabwe. We condemn any attempts by the Zimbabwean government to silence the press”.
Several other incidents of police brutality on journalists have been recorded this year. On 28 July, around 40 journalists from different media houses marched in the streets of Harare in a peaceful demonstration against police brutality on reporters.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16