Don't 'tag' journalists based on their media house

Ministry Information, Publicity and Broadcasting

THE Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has questioned ‘tagging’ of journalists by naming their media houses in Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) accreditation cards saying this exposes them to harassment, especially by politicians.

This comes after a number of cases were reported of journalists harassed by political parties and police while performing their duties.

Some of the cases included harassment of Dunmore Mundai from Alpha Media Holdings at Mbare by police, and Voice of America reporter, Godwin Mangudya who was harassed by Zanu PF supporters while covering party Central Committee elections.

On Monday, State security officers chucked out NewsDay chief reporter Taurai Mangudhla, photographer Shepherd Tozvireva, Heart and Soul head of current affairs and news Blessed Mhlanga, and reporters Chengeto Chidi, Zibusiso Ncube and Atrishya Gondo from covering an event at State house without giving reasons.

"The media house identification on the (ZMC) accreditation card has been housed to target and harass journalists.  Identify them as journalists and not the media house they work for,” ZUJ tweeted.

In August, four journalists that were covering a Zanu PF campaign rally in Gokwe were attacked by alleged ruling party supporters.  No arrests have been made yet.

ZUJ secretary general Perfect Hlongwane said measures must be crafted to protect journalists from harm while they perform their duties.

"We are working with the Media Alliance Zimbabwe (MAZ) to reverse the accreditation using media houses, and to have the press cards stating that the person is a journalist, without necessarily stating the media house they work for,” Hlongwane said.

"Barring journalists from covering state events is against principles of equal access, and further polarises the sector. There should be mechanisms to ensure that professional journalists are accommodated and treated equally when covering state events,” MAZ tweeted.

Regional director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa), Thabani Moyo condemned the continued discrimination of journalists from private media as they perform their duties.

"According to section 44 of the Constitution, the state and every person including juristic persons, and agents of government must respect and promote the rights and freedoms set out in the Constitution.  It is from this basis that Misa condemns harassment of journalists due to the media house they belong to,” Moyo said.

He said Misa will engage the Information and Publicity ministry to put an end to attacks on journalists.

“Press cards are established for media houses to safeguard their human rights so as to make full use of the rights enshrined in the Constitution and not to be violated.  We call on all stakeholders within the government to put an end to the recurrent violations.”


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