NATIONAL police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba has urged journalists and police officers to work together when covering rallies and demonstrations to avoid disseminating contradictory versions on the same events.
BY SHARON SIBINDI
Addressing a media workshop on elections organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe chapter in Bulawayo last week, Charamba said police and the media should regard each other as partners.
“While we do not have the answers to ensure that all journalists are safe, I am sure that through interaction and co-operation, we will identify areas that need improvement from either side. It is a fact that the media plays a vital role in informing, educating and entertaining the public before, during and after elections. Information dissemination is, therefore, key to a peaceful election process. The ZRP [Zimbabwe Republic Police] and media need to work
together,” she said.
“The relationship between the police and the media is like of ‘fish and water’, we cannot go without each other and we need each other. The ZRP is the source of important information, more-so as it relates to security. Our police stations across the country receive information as they occur and we have a lot of information and that information needs to be managed.”
Charamba said journalists covering demonstrations or public disorder situations should contact top police officers on the ground to avoid being caught up in the crossfire.
“This has not been happening before, but what we are also doing within the police is that we have also engaged with these commanders who are on the ground. They have the officer-in-command in [the] province and their deputies so that each and every commander across the country now knows that we need to engage with the journalists and media houses,” she said.
“It is pleasing to note that our interactions are leading to positive results. We have so far managed to address some of the concerns and I can safely say there’s trust between the media and the police. It is a continuous process.”
Charamba said Police Commissioner-General Godwin Matanga had approved the request for the media to address trainee police officers on how journalists operate.