MISA Zimbabwe stands in solidarity with a journalist and a researcher who were arbitrarily arrested by Mozambican Defence Armed Forces (FADM) on 17 December 2018. Estacio Valoi of the Zambeze Daily Newspaper was arrested along with David Matsinhe from Amnesty International and an unnamed driver.
The trio were reportedly arrested in Palma as they were travelling back from investigating a story in Chitolo, Mocímboa da Praia in Mozambique. They were held for two days without any charges laid against them and were only released on the morning of 19 December 2018.
According to reports received from MISA Mozambique, the investigative reporter had the required permission and authorisation to investigate the story he was working on at the time of his arrest.
Neither the FADM nor the Mozambican government has given reasons for the arrest.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
MISA Zimbabwe condemns the arbitrary arrests and harassment of journalists in the region while they discharge their constitutionally guaranteed work. Such acts and practises by the regional government in general and the Government of Mozambique specifically are meant to intimidate and silence investigative journalists from carrying out their jobs. We, therefore, repeat our position that journalism is not a crime. The safety and security of journalists while they carry out their duties in the region is a responsibility of the respective governments.
MISA Zimbabwe urges the regional Southern African Development Corporation (SADC) to uphold media freedoms in the region. This comes in light of the fact that a significant part of media violations that have recorded in the region are State sponsored. For example, last month, Tanzanian authorities held two Committee to Protect Journalists staffers and confiscated their passports without any justifiable reason.
MISA Zimbabwe is a member of the Southern Africa Development Community Internet Governance Forum (SAIGF) Multi-Stakeholder Coordinating Team.
MISA Zimbabwe Regional Solidarity Statement