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Committee To Protect Journalists Accuses Zimbabwe Government of Harassment And Intimidation

The Committee to Protect Journalists has sent a letter to Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, saying it is “outraged at the government’s harassment and intimidation of three Zimbabwean journalists.”

It says freelance reporters Angus Shaw, Brian Latham and Jan Raath were forced to leave the country, while a fourth journalist, Cornelius Nduna, has been forced into hiding. Julia Crawford is the spokesperson for the Committee to Protect Journalists. From New York, she spoke with English to Africa reporter Joe De Capua about the latest developments in Zimbabwe.

She says Shaw, Latham and Raath are now in exile and have no plans to return to Zimbabwe for the March 31st elections. As for Cornelius Nduna, she says he faces accusations of having a tape of government youth camps where militia are allegedly being trained. Militia have been blamed for attacks on members of the opposition MDC Party.

Ms. Crawford says, “Well, it seems very disturbing, not entirely unexpected. There seems to be again a clampdown, a systematic campaign, of harassment and intimidation of independent voices in Zimbabwe in the run-up to the March 31st elections. At least that is what we’re hearing from the ground. And that seems to be why police last week paid repeated visits to the offices of three freelance journalists.”

The CPJ letter to President Mugabe, signed by Executive Director Ann Cooper, says, “We urge you to ensure that police harassment of journalists stops immediately and that our Zimbabwean colleagues who have been driven into exile can return to cover elections in their country without fear of arrest or intimidation.”