Mushohwe bemoans attack on journos

INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Christopher Mushohwe yesterday said journalists covering news events should be protected from harassment as pressure mounts on police to desist from using unwarranted brute force on peaceful demonstrators.

Source: Mushohwe bemoans attack on journos – NewsDay Zimbabwe August 5, 2016


Police on Wednesday descended heavily on journalists covering an anti-bond notes protest in Harare.

Several people were injured while MDC-T legislator Thabitha Khumalo was hospitalised after she was affected by teargas fired outside her party’s Harvest House headquarters.

“I haven’t really established what really transpired. I am going to check,” Mushohwe said, adding that he had been attending to other engagements outside office.

“However, I don’t expect that innocent people who haven’t done anything should be beaten. We don’t want to see any violence in this country. I don’t condone harassment not only of journalists, but of people authorised for a protest march. We are a law-abiding country.”

Mushohwe also emphasised that peaceful protesters granted the permission to march should also desist from provocation and only stick to what they would have been authorised to do.
Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter director Nhlanhla Ngwenya said it was time now to move beyond statements of condemnation that were simply disregarded by authorities and explore other effective ways to ensure freedom of the media.

“As MISA, we are trying to work out and explore ways through which we can mitigate the continued harassment, beating and illegal detention of journalists going about their duties. This is largely because there appears to be no action taken by government and law enforcers to rein in and sanction those officers implicated in such abuses,” he said.

The Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations said the police’s action was deplorable.

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe said police had a role to protect defenceless members of the media, whose sole mandate was to inform all in society.

ZimRights chairman Passmore Nyakureba said Zimbabwe was fast degenerating into a police State.

“The unprovoked attack cements our fears that Zimbabwe is gradually moving into a police State where the constitutional civil liberties of the citizens are not respected. We also strongly condemn the attack on journalists by the same police officers. Surely there is no basis whatsoever for attacking professionals carrying out their business,” he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said his party was worried at the frequency of abuse that media personnel faced in Zimbabwe.

“When journalists are harassed and beaten up by the police and other State agents during the course of carrying out their duties, then all right-thinking people have got every reason to get very concerned and worried,” he said.