By Online Reporter
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has expressed concern over the refusal by Zimbabwe’s High Court to temporarily release Hopewell Chin’ono’s passport to allow him attend the Nat Nakasa Awards Gala where he was scheduled to deliver a keynote address tomorrow.
Chin’ono applied for the release of his passport on August 6 and the court acknowledged the urgency of the matter, but delayed making a ruling until his date and time of travel passed.
In a statement, (SANEF) urged the government to acknowledge and respect the constitutional rights of journalists, arguing that an independent press is at the heart of any democracy.
“It is regrettable that Chin’ono continues to be a victim of the Zimbabwean government’s political persecution. Journalism is not a crime, and journalists should not be treated like common criminals for practicing their craft.
“The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is disappointed by the failure of the Zimbabwean High Court to hand over the passport of renowned journalist Hopewell Chin’ono. Chin’ono was due to travel to Johannesburg where he was to deliver a keynote address at the Nat Nakasa Awards Gala dinner on Saturday 14 August 2021. Chin’ono was supposed to have travelled out of Harare today to attend the SANEF-organised awards,” SANEF said.
SANEF also urged regional block, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to pressure Zimbabwe’s government saying the persecution of journalists was unjust as they should be allowed to do their work freely.
“We continue to call on the regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to exert pressure on Zimbabwe to allow journalists to do their work without any fear of intimidation and persecution. Fifty-six years later, there are still journalists on our continent who are being jailed, harassed, and even killed for reporting on the atrocities, the human rights abuses, and corruption in their countries,” SANEF said.
Added SANEF: “We reiterate the call by the regional body, the Southern African Editors Forum for SADC governments to abolish all draconian laws and align themselves with international standards. This will enable journalists to operate in a free environment without fear of their lives when doing their jobs.”