Senior NewsDay reporter Richard Chidza, was allegedly harassed by ZANU PF youths on 19 October 2017, after he was manhandled for a story he wrote regarding a reported fall-out within the youth league leadership structure.
It is reported that Chidza along with other scribes had attended a press briefing by the ZANU PF Youth league, during whose course, Youth politiburo secretary, Kudzai Chipanga made disparaging remarks about the private media working to destabilise the youth league.
At the end of the presser, the youth league’s secretary for finance, Tongai Kasukuwere is alleged to have singled out Chidza as the author of the story in question, resulting in Innocent Hamandishe (Youth League Political Commissar) allegedly leading a group of agitated youths in manhandling the journalist.
The youths are alleged to have slapped and shoved him demanding that he reveal his source. Chidza was only released after the intervention of Chipanga.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
MISA Zimbabwe reiterates its position that media freedom and freedom of expression rights are core to the practice of journalism. These rights are constitutionally guaranteed and must be respected.
Further, the protection of sources by journalists is also a constitutionally protected right that should be respected in equal measure since it is the lifeblood of the practise of the craft.
Politicians should not lightly interfere with journalistic enterprise for self-serving reasons of political expediency and should approach the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe for redress if they have grievances or complaints that are content related. As we draw close to the impending 2018 elections, MISA Zimbabwe calls upon the political parties to reign in their structures and supporters against attacking the media while it discharges its professional duties.
We call upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to be vigilant in dealing with elements that harass the media without fear or favour.