Officer Commanding Bulawayo Province Commissioner Patton Mbangwa on 9 March 2021 urged journalists to adhere to the ethics of the profession in their reporting.
Commissioner Mbangwa made the call during a meeting organised by MISA Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo, as part of efforts to improve professional working relations between the police and the media.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, the senior police officer said the police could not single-handedly accomplish its objectives without the help of the media.
“Our involvement with the media is derived from the fact that we want to engage widely so that we will be able to provide the best service to the public.
“I urge all media houses to continue embracing ethics of investigative journalism and maintaining active communication with the police to achieve national objectives of sustainable development, peace and harmony,” he said.
Speaking during the same meeting, MISA Zimbabwe Board Member, Pamenus Tuso, stressed the importance of police and journalists working harmoniously, especially during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are not reinventing the wheel. These interactions between the media and the police are meant to improve the working relations between the two parties especially (during) this time of the COVID-19 induced challenges.
“We complement each and there is a nexus between journalists and the police,” said Tuso.
According to NewZimbabwe.com, the MISA Zimbabwe Board Member took the opportunity of the meeting to explain to the senior police officers the confusion surrounding expired Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) accreditation press cards.
Last year, scores of journalists were arrested for using expired press cards despite the ZMC issuing a public statement authorising the use of the 2019 and 2020 press cards in the wake of the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.
“I want to clarify the issue of press cards. We have some of our colleagues who are using expired cards because ZMC has been unable to issue current cards due to lockdown. We appeal to the police to accept these cards in the meantime,” pleaded Tuso.
Commissioner Mbangwa said the police provincial command had been advised of the development, but regretted that some overzealous police officers continued to arrest journalists over the issue.
The senior police officer also thanked the media for effectively covering police operations.
Similar engagement meetings with the police have been organised by MISA Zimbabwe in Kwekwe, Masvingo and Mutare.