IFJ Condemns Attacks on Journalists by Police in Zimbabwe

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned recent attacks by the police and other members of the country’s security forces, who last week assaulted, arrested and brutalised journalists and confiscated and destroyed the journalists’ equipment.

“The IFJ is deeply concerned by the continued brutalisation, harassment, intimidation, forceful arrest and detention of journalists in Zimbabwe said,” Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “Such inhumane treatment of journalists shows a flagrant disregard for their fundamental human rights and respect for the rule of law. The Government of Zimbabwe must provide the conducive environment that allows journalists to perform their duties without fear or intimidation, as expected of any democratically elected government.”

A correspondent of the Zimbabwean newspaper, Gift Phiri, was abducted by police from his house on Sunday and detained by police in the capital, Harare. The police later returned to his house and confiscated his computer and collected some business cards.

Reports from Zimbabwe indicated that Gift Phiri, who is still in police custody, has been severely beaten by the police. His wife, Tevedzerai Maphosa, was able to visit him on Monday and said Phiri is “in a bad shape”.

Two other journalists, Tawanda Musiyazviriyo and Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, both of whom are correspondents for international media, were also recently arrested and their equipment confiscated and destroyed by the police. Tapiwa Zivira, a student journalist with The Standard, the only remaining privately owned Sunday newspaper was attacked by police last week when he was covering a planned demonstration by city residents.

Another trainee journalist, Tapiwa Chininga, who is working for the state-owned news agency New Ziana, was said to have been fired for asking the “wrong” questions. Chininga was arrested and could face criminal charges after he asked police why they did not feel guilty for killing an opposition activist, according to reports.

The IFJ urges Zimbabwe’s government to put an immediate end to these arbitrary arrests of journalists and to release all imprisoned media workers, especially those journalists who are presently in custody due to bogus accusations and other flimsy charges. The Mugabe Government should endeavour to uphold its commitment to respect human rights and ensure that those police officers who take the law into their own hands and wilfully assault journalists are brought to justice.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 100 countries