AMH journalists still detained

0
375
Blessed Mhlanga

BY VARAIDZO MUDEWAIRI

ALPHA Media Holdings (AMH) journalists Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi were still detained last night after their arrest on Saturday while filming a documentary on Chitungwiza’s water crisis, their lawyers said yesterday.

“For discharging their professional duties as media practitioners, two journalists Blessed Mhlanga and Chengeto Chidi with HStvZim spent the night detained at Harare Central Police Station after they were arrested on Saturday in Chitungwiza,” Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a statement.

“Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) accused the two of taking pictures and video footage in a polling station in contravention of section 147(1) of Electoral Act as read with section 25 of SI 21 of 2005, a charge they deny. The journalists contend that they were at a borehole interviewing residents about water woes in Chitungwiza.”

ZLHR said Mhlanga pressed malicious damage to property charges against the police, who he accused of seizing and damaging his mobile phone handset before releasing it.

ZLHR also said the police officers seized the journalist’s cameras and tripods.

The two are expected to appear at the Chitungwiza Magistrates Court today.

ZLHR added that a Chitungwiza resident, Moses Hakata was arrested for trying to restrain the police from assaulting the journalists.

“For trying to restrain the police from assaulting Mhlanga, Chitungwiza resident Moses Hakata was also arrested and is detained at St Mary’s Police Station facing a charge of disorderly conduct as defined in section 41 of Criminal Code and is represented by Tapiwa Muchineripi of ZLHR”, ZLHR said.

Young Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Yoja) secretary-general Phillimon Jambaya condemned the arrest of journalists saying: “Yoja condemns the arrest of the two journalists. The incident comes barely a few days after the country celebrated World Press Freedom Day.

“The action of arresting the scribes is disheartening given that the second republic claims to be progressing on media reforms. The second republic should be embarrassed about this latest detention.

“As a young journalists, we will continue engaging the ZRP to educate its members and officers on the ground to relate well with the media and understand its mandate which subscribes to political neutrality.”

  • Follow us on Twitter @NewsDayZimbabwe