Today, 11 December, the Zimbabwe Republic Police officers assaulted and briefly detained Hubert Sithole and Panashe Makuta. Sithole and Makuta are reporter and photojournalists with online publication Mail and Telegraph respectively.
MISA Zimbabwe spoke to Elias Mambo, the online publication’s editor, who revealed that the duo was covering alleged intraparty clashes among MDC Alliance supporters. A group of supporters led by Warship Dumba went to Harare Central Police station to file a report.
The two scribes proceeded to cover the clashes to the Harare Central Police station where the other supporters had gone to file a report. It was during this interview at the station’s car park that police officers descended on the small crowd, and went on to assault the duo despite the fact that they identified themselves as journalists to the officers.
Mambo states that police officers confiscated Sithole and Makuta’s equipment when they detained the two journalists. The pair was eventually released, but their equipment is yet to be released.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe condemns the continued assault of journalists by police officers. This is the second time in a space of three months in which Makuta has been assaulted by members of the police force.
MISA Zimbabwe 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.