Two Zimbabwean journalists arrested for interviewing abduction victims

Filed under: Health & Nutrition,International News,Latest News,Politics |
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On Friday police in Zimbabwe arrested two journalists Frank Chikowore (39) and Samuel Takawira (29), for conducting interviews with three MDC Alliance activists who are hospitalised at Parktown Hospital in Harare, after abduction.

Meanwhile the two scribes will spend the entire weekend behind bars after their case was postponed to next Tuesday for bail determination.

The two appeared before Mbare magistrate, Musiiwa facing a count of contravening Section 11 (b) of Statutory Instrument of 2020, Public Health (Covid-19 Prevention, Containment and Treatment).

They are being accused of violating Covid-19 regulations through their visit to the hospital to do the interviews.

The scribes spent the night in police custody before appearing in court Saturday.

Through lawyer, Paida Saurombe, they argued that journalism is not a crime since they are accredited journalists.

Media rights lobby, MISA Harare chairperson, Garikai Chaunza condemned the police actions also arguing journalism is not a crime.

“On behalf of MISA, we condemn the arrest of the two journalists and we see it as a direct attack on journalists who are accredited to do their work. We fear this is a repetition of the past where journalists were viewed as enemies of the state. As far as we are concerned they did not commit any crime and their arrest was unlawful,” Chaunza said.

According to the state, the two on May 21 went to the hospital with the intention to interview MDC Alliance Harare West legislator Joanna Mamombe, activists Cecilia Chimbiri and Netsai Marova.

The three were receiving treatment at the hospital after they were tortured when they were abducted by alleged state agents.

The journalists were denied access in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations, said the state.

However, it is further alleged, the two again sneaked into the hospital the following day without being observed.

However, according to political watchers the two scribes were arrested for trying to interview the victims of abduction, in which the state could be implicated.

The Zimbabwe government is currently being accused of having a hand into the abductions. Analysts say the police confirmed they arrested the three women only to change the tone alleging the women were missing.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has a record of harassing members of the press, during the lockdown a number of journalists had been at the receiving with some being assaulted and later discharged with no charges levelled against them.

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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31