Police boss threatens journalists
By Staff Reporter
A TOP ranking police officer in Masvingo has summoned and threatened with unspecified action, journalists working for TellZim, a newspaper circulating in the province.
According to media rights lobby, Misa Zimbabwe, Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Assistant Commissioner (AC) Tawoneyi Nyazema was not amused by some contents published in the weekly’s opinion column.
The journalists are publication director Golden Maunganidze and Passmore Kuzipa, the editor.
The two were invited to Masvingo Central Police by the police spokesperson Charity Mazula for what seemed to be a routine engagement meeting between police and scribes.
Upon arrival at the meeting, an angry Nyazema reportedly demanded to know the author of the newspaper’s satirical column – Mapombi Adonha (Things Fall Apart).
The journalists insisted on ethics that forbid journalists from disclosing sources.
After failing to get what he wanted, the police boss chased the two from his office and further refused to entertain them when they later returned with their lawyer.
In a statement, MISA Zimbabwe condemned the intimidation of the scribes.
READ FULL STATEMENT BY MISA
MISA Zimbabwe condemns the intimidation of journalists in the course of their professional duties. Aggrieved parties are urged to file their complaints with the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe instead of taking the law into their own hands. The Zimbabwe Media Commission is also available as a constitutional body if there are sections of the society that feels aggrieved.
It is of high concern in this case that the police refused to meet with an officer of the court who was representing the two journalists. We can only hope that the journalists or their media house are not going to be harassed given the behaviour exhibited by the Masvingo Police Assistant Commissioner.
As noted in our various statements, the media is not the enemy here, we must all put hands on the deck in fighting the deadly coronavirus. We condemn the actions by the police in this instance and call upon the law enforcement agency to safeguard the constitution of Zimbabwe which guarantees media freedom under section 61.
Maunganidze, who is also the MISA Zimbabwe chairperson tried in vain to express the point that media stakeholders and the police have been engaging on the need to improve relations under the banner of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe.
MISA Zimbabwe staff is also on standby to assist media practitioners injured or arrested in the line of duty.