The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today strongly condemned the brutal and cowardly murder of Edward Chikombo, a part-time cameraman for Zimbabwe state broadcaster ZBC.
According to reports published by The Independent in Zimbabwe, eyewitnesses saw a group of armed men abduct Chikombo last Thursday from his home in Glenview Township outside Harare. His body was later found on Sunday near the village of Darwendale, 80 km west of the capital.
According to sources, Chikomba was suspected of having leaked the footage of the demonstrations and images of brutalised opposition activists which flooded international media organisations like the BBC and CNN.
Specifically “there are concerns in Harare, that the killing may be linked to the smuggling out of the country of television pictures of the badly injured opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai after he was beaten up by police on 11 March 2006,” according to The Independent.
“The deliberate killing of journalists anywhere in the world constitutes a crime against humanity,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “Those cowardly criminals, who killed journalists because they feel offended by their work, can no longer be allowed to go unpunished. Impunity is no longer acceptable and such individuals should be tried and brought to justice within the quickest possible time, in order to set a precedent.”
The IFJ vehemently deplores the recent highhandedness of the police and members of the security forces on journalists following the recent standoffs between the government and the members of the opposition. It is the ardent belief of the IFJ that the media is a major pillar of democracy and journalists, like all other citizens, should be treated with respect and dignity.
The IFJ in this regard strongly calls on the Government of Zimbabwe to commission an independent inquiry into the death of Edward Chikombo, and to ensure that the perpetrators of this criminal and inhumane act are identified and 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