VMCZ CONDEMNS ASSAULT AND DETENTION OF NEWSDAY JOURNALISTS

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) condemns in the strongest terms the assault and detention of NewsDay journalists Obey Manayiti, Abigail Matsikidze and photographer Shepherd Tozvireva and their driver Raphael Phiri while covering a stand-off between members of the public and police over road spikes in Harare today.

The three journalists are bonafide, Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) - accredited journalists and were lawfully going about their constitutionally protected duties.

The VMCZ urges the police and any other institution and citizens, to desist from attacking, maiming or hindering or obstructing in any way members of the media while executing their lawful duties.

While the police have a higher responsibility to protect all citizens, including journalists, the VMCZ is of the considered view that if the police  have any issues of concern with the media they should engage professional bodies such as the VMCZ and the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe to assist in settling any disputes.

The heavy-handed and unlawful actions by the police pose great risk to the lives of journalists discharging their constitutionally protected responsibility of keeping the public informed. 

The attack on the scribes is a direct attack on media freedoms and the right to inform. The VMCZ, strongly believes in an ethical, accountable and professional media and these three important tenets cannot be achieved if media continue to operate under threat and constant fear of possible attacks by the police or any members of society.

The VMCZ therefore urges the police to respect and uphold journalists’ right to media freedom as guaranteed by the constitution and urgently and unconditionally release the three journalists.

Ends//.

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