Another reporter assaulted for filming police operations
A plainclothes police officer assaulted Panashe Makufa a local journalist with online publication Mail & Telegraph on 18 October 2018 in Harare after asking why he was filming a police blitz against illegal foreign currency dealers.
Makufa was passing through the Road Port regional bus terminus when he noticed police officers arresting illegal money dealers.
Makufa then started taking pictures of the police operation. A plainclothes police officer slapped Makufa and asked why he was taking photographs of the arrests. The journalist was detained briefly as uniformed police at the scene accused him of being one of the illegal money dealers.
Makufa was only released when he produced his press accreditation card. Police on the scene refused to identify the officer who assaulted him. They only said the perpetrator was from the Law and Order Section.
Makufa reported the assault at the police base station located at Road Port bus terminus. The case was recorded under RRB number 3659367. This is the sixth incident in the past two months in which police officers have assaulted journalists filming or photographing public police operations.
MISA Zimbabwe Position MISA Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the seeming increase in the number of cases where police officers assault media practitioners conducting their journalistic work. We, therefore, take this opportunity to remind the police that it is not a crime to photograph or film police operations in public areas.
Such actions amount to unwarranted and unjustifiable censorship of the media.
MISA Zimbabwe also reminds media practitioners to employ the profession’s safety and security measures while covering hostile situations. Media practitioners are advised to also utilise the MISA JournoSOS App as well as the MISA Panic Button App in the event of any violations. MISA Zimbabwe staff is also on standby to assist media practitioners injured or arrested in the line of duty. The MISA Hotline is 0784 437 338.