Zimbabwe: Police must stop intimidation and harassment of journalists
“The latest arbitrary arrest and detention of five journalists covering a demonstration is a tactic simply calculated to intimidate and harass journalists,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.
"This is an affront to the freedom of the press and the media in general. Police must stop targeting journalists for doing their work.”
Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa
“The move is clearly designed to deter journalists from carrying out their legitimate work in order to ensure information blackout on uncomfortable issues that they report on. This is an affront to the freedom of the press and the media in general. Police must stop targeting journalists for doing their work.”
Five journalists, Garikai Chaunza, Edgar Gweshe, Chris Mahove, Kumbulani Zamchiya, and James Jemwa, were arrested by Zimbabwean police on Sunday, 26 June at the Rainbow Towers hotel in Harare.
They were covering a protest by activists against the prolonged stay at the hotel by Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko.
He has been staying at the government owned hotel for more than 500 days.
The activists were protesting over what they call a waste of resources by a cash strapped government which is struggling to pay salaries for civil servants.
The journalists were arrested at about 10:00 AM and released without being charge at about 17:30 PM. They were detained at Harare Central Police Station. Police wanted to delete the images that they had captured of police using excessive force against peaceful protesters.
One of the journalists told Amnesty International that the media professionals had identified themselves as journalists and they had shown their accreditation cards, but police disregarded this, and arbitrarily arrested them.