Editors group urges stop to media harassment by state during lockdown
By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) has urged security forces to stop harassing journalists who are among agencies authorised to work during the current national lockdown against Covid-19.
This comes after police and soldiers enforcing the lockdown have persistently been harassing journalists they accused of leaving their homes in violation of the 21-day lockdown order decreed by President Emmerson Mnangagwa over a week ago.
Journalists are listed as part of the country’s essential services during the current fight against a disease that has infected 11 and killed 3 in Zimbabwe.
Enforcement teams continuously claim they were not aware the media was excused from the lockdown order.
In a statement Friday, Zinef coordinator Njabulo Ncube urged Zimbabwean authorities to educate their teams on that journalists were permitted to work during the lockdown.
“Zinef is appealing to the government to specifically alert law enforcement agencies, particularly soldiers and police, that journalists and their media are an essential service,” Ncube said in a statement Friday.
He added, “Failure to decree this will result in lack of useful, reliable and truthful information on the present fight against the deadly epidemic.”
Ncube said he had received with dismay, reports that some journalists were being arrested while one was Friday made to toyi toyi by soldiers as she made her way to work.
“This is a disservice to the fight against the spread of coronavirus,” Ncube said, adding that the media’s role in the current combat against the global pandemic was equal to those of doctors, nurses and other support staff within the health sector.
“The media’s special role against this ravaging enemy cannot be downplayed by lack of clarity as one of essential services as the country trudges along during this lockdown,” he said.
On Friday, NewZimbabwe.com journalists Mary Taruvinga and Alois Vinga were stopped and ordered to go back home by lockdown joint enforcement teams of police and soldiers.