Six journalists covering the recently held congress of the opposition MDC in Harare were threatened and barred from covering a violent incident that reportedly transpired at the congress venue.
It is reported that before the official commencement of the proceedings, the journalists who included those from Heart and Soul TV and Open Parly ZW, were interviewing congress delegates outside the venue after being advised by security details that preparations for the congress were still in progress hence, they could not access the venue.
During the interviews, one of the interviewees is reported to have criticised the congress’s processes resulting in him being allegedly assaulted by some disgruntled party supporters.
The journalists were, however, reportedly threatened and barred from filming the incident by the party supporters. The party supporters also threatened to seize their equipment.
Critical stakeholders and responsible authorities, including political party supporters, security details and leaders, should respect the role of journalists in promoting the exercise and enjoyment of fundamental rights by an informed citizenry.
MISA Zimbabwe condemns all forms of media freedom violations including assault, threats and intimidation against journalists conducting their constitutional rights to inform and educate the nation as events unfold.
Journalists have a constitutional mandate to seek, receive and impart information. In that regard, it is the duty of every person to respect, protect and promote these rights.
MISA Zimbabwe also calls on the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Zimbabwe Republic Police and the relevant Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Zimbabwe Media Commission, to continuously spread the message of peace and non-violence and secure a conducive environment for journalists to undertake their professional duties without hindrance.
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