In a tweet sent out this afternoon, Joseph Cotterill (@jsphctrl) a Southern Africa correspondent at the Financial Times spoke about his encounters with Zimbabwean security forces. In the tweet Cotterill states that he had a soldier raise an AK assault rifle and threatened him during Wednesday’s riots in the capital.
In the same tweet, Cotterill says that on Friday afternoon a riot police officer butted him with a riot shield. This was when the Zimbabwe Police temporarily blocked media from accessing the MDC Alliance press conference, which was held at the Bronte Hotel earlier on today.
The tweet captures the two recent flashpoints in Zimbabwe’s media landscape. According to MISA Zimbabwe’s statistics, Cotterill becomes the fourth journalist assaulted in Zimbabwe since Wednesday 1 August 2018.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
MISA Zimbabwe condemns both acts of assault against Cotterill. The number of journalists assaulted in Zimbabwe in the past few days is unacceptably high and out of sync the government’s promise that it is breaking with the repressive past. These repeated media violations dents the country’s standing globally, hence the need for the government ensure that the journalists are accorded the highest levels of security while they discharge their professional duties as guaranteed in the constitution
MISA Zimbabwe urges members of the media community and the public to report any media violations on the MISA Hotline is 0784 437 338. MISA Zimbabwe staff is also on standby to assist media practitioners injured or arrested in the line of duty.