Media Institute of South Africa (MISA)-Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Union of journalists have both slammed Thursday’s arrest of 10 journalists outside the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) provincial offices in Harare.
The scribes were arrested while covering a demonstration by MDC Alliance activists who were not pleased by a ZEC ban on party representatives from attending a stakeholder meeting convened by the electoral management authority.
Police swooped on the group of journalists, bundled them onto their truck together with the protestors and took them to Harare Central police station where they were briefly held before being released with no charge.
The journalists are Leopold Munhende, Thomas Madhuku, Nyashadzashe Ndoro, Robert Tapfumaneyi, Marshal Bwanya, Gaddaffi Wells, Adrian Matutu, Tongai Mwenje and Tinashe Muringai
In separate statements MISA and ZUJ condemned what has now become recurrent arrests of journalists going about their lawful duties.
MISA called on the police to stop interfering with the work of journalists.
“It is worrying that members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to arrest journalists who would have produced accreditation cards and also advised that they are undertaking their professional duties.
“MISA Zimbabwe calls on the ZRP to desist from unjustifiably interfering with the work of media practitioners,” said the media lobby.
ZUJ said continued arrests on journalists was unacceptable.
“ZUJ finds such police actions highly unacceptable and clearly designed at foiling the 10 journalists’ coverage of the ZEC proceedings and thus stifling the truth, which is fundamental to national development.
“As frontline workers, journalists are already overburdened with other numerous operating challenges in the country without some overzealous police details adding on to them,” said the union.