Zimbabwe: Journalists beaten and humiliated by security forces

Two freelance journalists were severely beaten and "dehumanised" by security forces while leaving work on 24 June. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in calling on the government to take urgent steps to ensure the safety and security of journalists.


Leopold Munhende, who works for NewZimbabwe.com and Munashe Chokodza who works for 263 Chat, were accosted by security forces in Warren Park 1 suburb of the capital Harare while coming from work, according to a statement issued by ZUJ. Despite identifying themselves as journalists by showing their press cards, the security forces asked them to lie down on the ground and beat them with truncheons and whips in what the IFJ called "dehumanising treatment".

The journalists sustained injuries as a result of the attack.

Secretary General of ZUJ, Foster Dongozi, said: “The admission that journalists are a special target explains the huge body count of journalists who have been beaten, arrested or harassed by the Zimbabwean security forces since the COVID 19 lockdown”. "This," he said, "is totally unacceptable as Zimbabwean journalists are equally entitled to protection and safety which should be provided by the state and its different organs."

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger, said that the security forces "had deliberately overstepped their bounds" and acted in "total hatred and dislike and meted out brutal hostility to the two journalists resulting in such dehumanising treatments."

 “This deliberate act of naked aggression by the security forces against two journalists who posed no threat to them whatsoever is a travesty of justice and a serious violation of human rights", he said. 

The Federation calls on the Zimbabwean authorities to help ensure the safety and security of journalists by bringing to justice those involved in the journalists' abusive arrest.

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

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