IFJ Condemns Arrest of Senior Journalist in Zimbabwe
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the arrest and questioning of the Masvingo Mirror Editor, Golden Maunganidze, on Wednesday, 23 February 2011 in Masvingo Province, south eastern Zimbabwe. Maunganidze was questioned in relation to an article published in his paper about some "unnamed people" in the community. He was charged with criminal defamation and bailed to return to the Masvingo Police Station on Thursday.
"The arrest and questioning of Golden Maunganidze is an act of intimidation and harassment to deter him from performing his professional duties", said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. "Zimbabwe should strike out from its statute books all criminal defamation laws in order to allow the free flow of information which breeds accountability and transparency".
The Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) Foster Dongozi, expressed concern on the safety and protection of journalists in Zimbabwe, ahead of the referendum and elections.
" We are deeply concerned about these developments in view of the fact that as African journalists we are currently lobbying Africa leaders to sponsor and support a resolution at the African Union to promote the promote the protection of African journalists and our appeals appear to be falling on deaf ears," he said.
The IFJ calls on the Zimbabwean government to make it a priority to guarantee the safety and protection of journalists. The Federation says that the little progress from the terrible clampdown on independent media by Zanu PF regime risk to be rolled back by the selfish interest of few individuals who have a personal vendetta with the media.
"The media in Zimbabwe must be seen and accepted as a critical component in the process of nation building," added Baglo.
For more information contact the IFJ at +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide