Protect journalists from harassment

HARARE - Attacks on two journalists going about their duties are a sad reminder of how this country is far from respecting the media.

What is even more worrying is that the attacks on two journalists come against a background of pledges of peace by leading political parties in the inclusive government.

On Thursday, a journalist was manhandled by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s bodyguards in Bulawayo and had his notebook and pictures deleted during coverage of the premier’s tour in that city.

Another journalist was assaulted by youths at the MDC headquarters.

His offence was taking pictures of the brawl and orgy skirmishes between rival youths at Harvest House who were remonstrating with the officials alleging imposition of candidates in their constituency.

This is a dangerous and very disturbing culture which the MDC must stop now or they risk becoming another Zanu PF which has persistently harassed and caused the arrest of journalists.

Tsvangirai, as the country’s prime minister, must make sure that he protects journalists from harassment.

He must make sure those responsible for the attacks on journalists are punished and taught to respect the profession.

Attacks on journalists from all media houses has to stop once and for all.

Journalists must be allowed to do their work without fear of being brutalised.

We reiterate that the MDC, which is promising to bring democracy to the country if elected into office, should stop being like Zanu PF whose conduct against journalists has seen Zimbabwe being rated as an enemy of the media.

It gets worse when it comes from the MDC which is promising to bring change to a country which has been run authoritarian-style since independence in Zimbabwe.

The MDC should put pressure to ensure that freedom of the press is observed and there is media diversity in Zimbabwe so that the people can benefit from balanced news.

As Zimbabwe heads towards elections it is becoming clear that journalists remain in danger from politicians.

Journalists are tired of harassment, assaults and unnecessary politically-motivated arrests and we expect politicians to try and protect media workers from such abuse.

The MDC must apologise for the attack on journalists and must issue statements condemning the attacks.
 
As the Daily News, we strongly condemn such unwarranted attacks. - Staff Writer

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