Zimbabwe: End Harassment and Intimidation of Journalists, says IFJ

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), in demanding immediate government action to protect journalists who are facing an epidemic of arrests and detentions in Zimbabwe. The ZUJ reported that 5 journalists were arrested on 25 June, namely Garikai Chaunza, Christopher Mahove, James Jemwa, Khumbulani Zamchiya, and Edgar Gweshe. They were covering protests against Vice President Mphoko’s lengthy stay in a luxury hotel when they were taken to the police station and held for eight hours before being released without charges. These arrests are preceded by a series of assaults carried out on journalists while on assignment, primarily by the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Kingstone Mapupu was recently assaulted in Mbare, a suburb in Harare, Paidamayo Muzulu was arrested while on assignment and Albert Masaka was beaten up by political activists. “The persistent harassment and intimidation of journalists in relation to their work by security agents and political activists is a fundamental violation on the rights of journalists as citizens. It is an affront to democracy and the respect of human rights” said IFJ President, Philippe Leruth. “Journalists must be accorded the necessary protection that is given to each and every citizen, as it is the fundamental responsibility of governments to protect the lives of its citizens”. ZUJ Secretary General, Foster Dongozi, said that journalists have been illegally targeted by police. “Preventing journalists from carrying out their work is in direct violation of the Zimbabwe national constitution”, he said. The IFJ calls on the Zimbabwean Government to intervene in order to create a safe and secure environment for the media to operate in, and ensure the public’s right to know.

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