Misa Zimbabwe seeks audience with Chihuri

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter is requesting to meet Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri over the increasing harassment and arrest of journalists while covering street protests that are being witnessed in the country.

by Staff Reporter

The media watchdog wrote to Chihuri on Monday seeking audience with him to discuss the “deepening conflict” between members of the police and media practitioners.

Misa-Zimbabwe trust member Cris Chinaka and acting chairperson Kelvin Jakachira said the request for the meeting followed the rise in the number of journalists arrested or assaulted by the police while covering protests by opposition activists and various groupings.

“It is indeed the duty of journalists to cover and report issues and all events in the country, including demonstrations,” the letter read.

“While we do not seek to teach the police on how to do their job in maintaining law and order, we believe that that responsibility also includes ensuring the safety and security of journalists who will be dutifully executing their mandate.”

Chinaka and Jakachira, in the joint letter, said given the critical role of journalists and the police, there was need for a cordial working relationship to ensure the two essential sectors effectively executed their duties in the interest of the country.

“In fact, it is the same call of duty that the police find themselves answering to during protests that journalists also have to respond to. This is why they find themselves in the streets, precisely to cover the protests as they unravel,” the letter read.

“Nothing else drives them, but to get the story for the benefit of the general public and indeed policymakers who also use news reports to make informed decisions in the formulation of policies.”

The proposed meeting is aimed at ensuring the police and journalists conduct their work without fear and suspicion of each other.