ZUJ Documents Crackdown On Scribes

The book launched by ZUJ titled: “Journalists or Enemies of the State” chronicles the trials and tribulations Zimbabwean journalists went through as a result of draconian legislations. Several journalists who include the late Mark Chavhunduka, Ray Choto and Gift Phiri were tortured by state agents for conducting their duties.”

The book mentions sad experiences of several journalists who were affected by the ban and closure of the papers in the last decade they worked for as they became unemployed.

“Life was not easy from the time we were rendered unemployed. During this time I ended up selling my clothes, shoes and anything that could be sold to supplement the little money earned by my wife,” narrated Foster Dongozi, a former journalist with the Daily News.

The bombing of the premises of Radio Voice of the People (VOP) and Association of Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) has been highlighted as the most ‘violent’ attack on the media with the perpetrators still roaming free.

“Violence against the media took a decidedly ominous dimension with the bombing of the Voice of the People private radio station (VOP) and ANZ printing press in Harare. To date no arrests have been made of the perpetrators of these dastardly acts,” ZUJ narrates events in the book.

“The closure of the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday was clearly one of the worst and unfortunate developments affecting the country’s media since independence. The shutdown left hundreds of workers unemployed, and hundreds of families without an income and millions of readers without their daily independent newspaper.”

Former ZBC news editor-in-chief Shepherd Mutamba said President Robert Mugabe was responsible for media onslaught that took place from the year 2000 and should be held accountable.

Mutamba who was fired in 2000 after  he  had refused  to endorse the dismissal  of  more than 60% of ZBC senior journalists under the instruction of  the  then Information Minister Johnathan Moyo, said:

“We may waste out time and efforts documenting and writing voluminous books accusing people like Professor Jonathan Moyo. In fact by so doing we will be giving these people mileage.What is needed is to interrogate the presiding officer of these draconian laws that  resulted  in the  messy we are in. The man to take to task is President Robert Mugabe not anyone else,“ he said as he narrated his sad ordeal.

The documented voices of journalists who were affected and left jobless by the then ZANU-PF led government  from 2000 to 2005.It also sort  to investigate  where  the affected journalists were, How  were they surviving, what happened to them and their families.

Former  Daily News deputy  Editor Davison Maruziva was  given the chance to narrate how the  publication was bombed  in 2003,before his colleague Geoff Nyarota took to the  podium  to share  his  experience s in the then Information Minister Jonathan Moyo era.

The same occasion also witnessed the launch of another book called, Women Walk Silently to Parliament, which looks on how the media discriminated women against their male counterparts during the 2008 harmonised elections.

The project recommends the formulation of gender policies in media organisations and the establishment of such desks in newsrooms.