BY TAPFUMANEI MUCHABAIWA
GOVERNMENT has assured journalists that they will not be harassed by political players during the forthcoming elections.
The country is set to hold by-elections on March 26 and general elections next year.
Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Kindness Paradza yesterday told NewsDay that his ministry had liaised with all State security agencies to ensure they provide a safe working environment for journalists covering the elections.
Paradza was responding to a recent report by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), which warned that the upcoming election period could expose journalists to violent attacks.
“Our hope is that we are not going to get any incidents where our journalists will be harassed, either by political players or by security agents,” Paradza said.
“In this case, we have liaised with the police in particular, to make sure that if they have any quarrels or interactions with our media personnel, they should get clarification from us. We are also going to engage security agents so that they do not harass our journalists during their tour of duty.
“We also want to call upon political players, especially the opposition, to also desist from harassing our journalists because we have seen it happening in the past. We are saying that as the Information ministry, no journalist should be harassed by political players or law enforcement agents. Journalists must also ensure that they always carry their Press cards.”
On use of COVID-19 regulations to consolidate undemocratic laws, Paradza said: “COVID-19 laws apply to everyone and these are not specifically for journalists. In any case, in Zimbabwe, journalists are in the essential services (category), but they must also operate within the confines of the law. In the past, we have also seen journalists who are fond of provoking law enforcement agents.”