By Dylan Murambgi
Harare, September 17, 2016 – ZIMBABWEAN journalists on Friday took on the police demanding an end to increasing cases of police harassment on media practitioners.
A delegation of journalists led by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Zimbabwe Chapter met police authorities in Harare to register the media professionals’ concerns.
This follows recent cases in which journalists have been beaten up, arrested and in some cases detained for covering anti-government protests that have been experienced in the recent past.
To end the crisis, media practitioners met with police authorities who were led by Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba.
Charamba heads the police press and public relations department.
“The meeting was aimed at discussing the increasing number of cases involving journalists being harassed by members of the police force in the course of covering recent protests and public gatherings,” Misa-Zimbabwe said in a statement Friday.
“The MISA-Zimbabwe delegation headed by the organisation’s Trustees Chairperson, Cris Chinaka, handed over a petition expressing media practitioners’ displeasure over their treatment by the police to Commissioner General Chihuri’s delegated representative, Assistant Senior Commissioner Charity Charamba.
“The petition was signed by over 150 journalists drawn from both the state and private media as well as freelancers.”
After the handing over of the petition, Misa said, Chinaka conveyed journalists’ concerns and their call for the normalisation of working relations between the police and the media to ensure that both parties contribute to the peaceful development of the country.
The country’s political environment has become tense after citizens have turned on the heat against the Zanu PF led government demanding accountable leadership.
President Robert Mugabe, wife Grace and some government officials have been accused of frequent threats against the media for allegedly peddling lies against his government.
Following the protests, the beleaguered Harare regime has come under increased local and international media scrutiny to see how it responded to the protests.
Journalists have in the process been caught in the skirmishes as the state tries to hide some of its excesses.