Attack on Daily News reporter condemned

HARARE - The attack on a Daily News reporter by a Zanu PF mob in the southern city of Masvingo has triggered protests and an outcry on social media, with unions calling on authorities to put a lid on such assaults.

Godfrey Mtimba was subjected to a beating while reporting on the tumultuous events at President Barack Obama’s Washington Fellowship Young African Leaders initiative at the Charles Austin Theatre.

Mtimba, the leading daily’s ace reporter in Masvingo, was at the theatre when Talent Majoni, the Zanu PF youth league national deputy commissar, charged into the US-embassy-organised youth meeting with 30 others heckling resource persons and apparently provoked why Obama had excluded President Robert Mugabe from the August US-Africa summit.

As Mtimba snapped the rowdy mob, he was surrounded by the dangerous elements amidst the stand-off and was poked in the face and slapped by the youths. His jacket was torn apart.

Mtimba described a mob of more than 30 people “whipped into a frenzy”.

Targeted for vindictive treatment in the crush of the violent pack, Mtimba suffered a sustained assault and beating by the mob, which accused him of working with imperialists.

“We call on responsible authorities to ensure that such lawlessness against journalists is nipped in the bud,” Foster Dongozi, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists ( ZUJ) secretary general said.

No one has been taken in for questioning even though the assailants have been identified.

Press freedom groups said a fool-proof case must be made out in the court. ZUJ accused the government of not doing enough to protect journalists, despite attempts to grow the media industry to include several independent media groups that are joining the powerful State broadcaster.

But there are lingering concerns by rights groups who are still seeing “low-level repression” of journalists.

Years of intimidation and harassment have led many independent journalists to self-censor.

Mtimba was lucky to escape without serious injuries, but was roughed up.

The attack took place shortly after the start of the youth meeting at a local theatre, a gritty former industrial district that is now one of the city’s fastest-growing neighbourhoods of university apartments and bars.

Mtimba was at the theatre on a Daily News assignment.

Comments (2)

"No one has been taken in for questioning even though the assailants have been identified." So much for ZRP for continuing selective application of the law. No wonder we have rampant corruption in Zimbabwe.

Nkosi Mambo - 27 January 2014

sometimes it is not easy to take sides with reporters, I am not condoning what happened to this very reporter, but come on! we also need a different attitude kind of journalism here, who said journalist and reporters are immune to mob circumstances!! when things go bad run for your life!!! Yes we see everywhere even in the heart of serious bomb violence - reporters and their camera people , thats a wrong culture. if you are not part of whats happening then don't even go there!! As we talk right now the zimbabwean journalists have reported to the world that hundreds of journalist have been killed under Mugabe, and guess what? Ask MISA about the proper figures and you will be surprise. (Media Institute of Southern Africa)! Zim journalists are in heaven and thats why you enjoy makuhwa and taking sides with the haves!! I could go on and on, but all I have know about journalism is most of them are like spoiled kids. Last, how can a profession be such that for one to win the most prestigious award in that vocation, one has to be in prison...That's journalism!!!!

jinda Ramambo - 28 January 2014

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