ZMC condemns barring of journalists from covering events

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has expressed concern over the ongoing refusal by some political parties who refuse some journalists and media outlets to cover their events, urging those responsible to permit the media to fulfil their constitutional obligation.

Journalists from NewsDay were recently barred from covering the Zanu PF National People’s Conference in Harare.

This also comes as media watchdogs and partitioners have expressed concern that Zimbabwe is seeing an alarming increase in the number of cases involving journalist assaults at political rallies and gatherings.

“The ZMC has noted the continued intolerance towards some journalists and media houses from covering certain political parties and activities. While some media houses may not report on a political party favourably, this does not call for the debarring of some journalists and some media houses in the coverage of those political activities. It should be appreciated that diversity of views creates and entrenches a balance in the media landscape and in society at large,” said the constitutional body in a statement to commemorate the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists on November 2.

On that note, the ZMC called upon political parties, the government and the uniformed forces to ensure the protection and safety of journalists lawfully conducting their duties and to respect the constitutional rights of the media.

“Attacks on journalists lawfully doing their work becomes an attack on our democracy. The ideals of tolerance and restraint should be the guiding principles in dealing with the media. A free media assists Zimbabwe in fostering the values of democracy as envisaged in the National Development Strategy (NDS1),” said the media commission.

ZMC said information is a public good without which people can hardly make constructive decisions in their daily dealings.

“Journalists remain strategic in gathering and disseminating information in its different forms to the different publics across the board within our respective societies. To this end, the protection and safety of journalists remains one of the key priorities of the ZMC,” said the body.

“Freedom of the press and the media is guaranteed by Section 61 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act. These legal provisions give media practitioners the liberty to carry out their work in the country without any hindrances as long as they will be doing so in the confines of the law.”

“The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists come at a critical time as Zimbabweans are bracing for the 2023 general elections. Like anywhere in the world, the media in Zimbabwe is expected to play its critical role in gathering and disseminating information between election candidates and voters while political parties and contestants have the right to have their activities anywhere and at any time, the same should be accorded to the media,” said the constitutional body.

Meanwhile, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwean Chapter, said this year’s commemorations of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists come at a time when Zimbabwe is witnessing a worrying increase in the number of cases involving the assault of journalists at political rallies and gatherings.

“Some of the journalists sustained injuries and also lost their equipment during these unlawful attacks while the perpetrators remain free despite reports being filed with the police in some of the instances,” said the media watchdog.

“It is even more worrying that some of the cases involve the assault of journalists by members of the police who have the constitutional obligation to protect and secure the lives and property of the citizens.”

MISA Zimbabwe was worried that these crimes against journalists were likely to increase as the country goes into the election mode ahead of the 2023 elections, “if corrective measures are not taken as a matter of urgency.”

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button