Police this afternoon, 19 October 2019, assaulted journalist Ruvimbo Muchenje while they were dispersing protesters in the Harare City Centre. Muchenje is a journalist with one of Zimbabwe’s daily newspapers, the NewsDay.
At the time of the assault, Muchenje was suspected of recording skirmishes between the police and protestors when the police officers hit her camera with a baton stick. Muchenje said a female officer directed four male police officers to attack her in the process, before fleeing for dear life. She has since received medical attention for the injuries sustained in the attacks.
MISA Zimbabwe is greatly concerned with the seemingly increased number of cases where police officers assault media practitioners conducting their journalistic work. We, therefore, take this opportunity to remind the police that it is not a crime to photograph or film police operations in public areas. Such actions amount to unwarranted and unjustifiable censorship of the media.
MISA Zimbabwe also 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.