Harassment of journalists continues

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition is concerned about the constant harassment of journalists and independent newspapers by the police, intelligence officials and members of the Zanu-PF party.

This follows the arrest of Photojournalist Aaron Ufumeli on Tuesday the 16th of July 2012 while covering a demonstration organised by the women's movement at the Africa Unity Square in Harare.

According to MISA-ZIMBABWE, Ufumeli who works for the privately owned NewsDay, was arrested  around 0930hrs by an unidentified police officer while taking pictures of appeared to be a confrontation between a police officer and one of the demonstrators.

Police reportedly confiscated Ufumeli's camera for about twenty minutes insisting that the photographs that he had taken be deleted. His camera was only returned to him around 10 am after he had deleted the photographs in question at the police's insistence.

Ufumeli was later released with no charges preferred against him. The Coalition views the arrest of the two as part of a growing campaign to intimidate the media and muzzle the press, in a bid to stop journalists from carrying on with their duties. The inclusive government must condemn unlawful police actions and must demonstrate its commitment to the principles of accountability by enforcing freedom of expression as stated in Article 19 of the GPA.

More worrying is a recent report by 'Reporters Without Borders' which states that since the start of 2012, 21 journalists and 6 citizen journalists have been killed with many of them in war zones such as Somalia and Syria. According to the report, one news provider killed every five days. As such, we call on governments to implement international provisions on the protection of journalists in an effective manner.

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