NewsDay journalists Obey Manayiti, Shepherd Tozvireva and their driver Raphael Phiri were arrested and assaulted by police officers on their way Harare Central police station, where they are currently detained. The trio were photographing skirmishes between police and members of the public in central business district of Harare. MISA Zimbabwe is following the case and will give updates as the matter unfolds.
MISA Zimbabwe condemns this abuse of authority by the police, which is seemingly aimed at blocking their unflattering law enforcement practices from filtering into the public domain. This is not the first case of police’s use of unwarranted force against journalists. Similar cases were reported in 2016.
Journalism is not a crime, and the country’s constitution recognises this by explicitly guaranteeing media freedom. MISA Zimbabwe therefore calls on Home Affairs Minister and his police chiefs to urgently act on this unacceptable policing so as to stem such unprofessional conduct feeding off a culture of impunity enjoyed by members of the force. Failure to do so will completely erode the police’s public standing as a reputable force that upheld the rule of law in protecting of citizens.