Authorities in Zimbabwe are reported to be threatening local and
foreign journalists with arrest. The threats come despite the formation
of the new government in Zimbabwe that includes both main political
Journalists in the country say they are still being
harassed and intimidated by the former ruling party, the Zanu PF. In
one case, police allegedly went to the offices of the weekly newspaper
The Independent, looking for the editor and news editor.
last week, four accredited journalists from Spain were reportedly
threatened with arrest when they went to interview a white commercial
farmer who has been stopped from harvesting his export fruit crop. The
journalists say they were threatened by Zanu PF members loyal to Nathan
Shamuyarira, a former long-serving information minister for the party.
Spanish embassy intervened through Zimbabwe's foreign affairs
department. Police were sent to the farm and the four journalists from
Spain's TV-e were able to leave.
On Saturday, several members of
the Law and Order section of the Harare Central Police station went to
the offices of the weekly Independent. They said they wanted to arrest
editor Vincent Kahiya and news editor Constantine Chimakure.
Independent ran a report last Friday quoting from an indictment against
18 human rights and Movement for Democratic Change activists picked up
last year, who are now charged with plotting to oust President Robert
Dumisani Muleya assistant editor of The Independent
called the harassment "reprehensible" and "outrageous." He said it
"signifies the continued repression of the media, when police want to
arrest journalists over documents in the public domain."
it is ironic this should take place during a government-backed media
conference at Lake Kariba. Most Zimbabwe journalists and media
organizations boycotted the conference because photo-journalist
Shadreck Manyere is being held in a hospital recovering from injuries
he said were incurred after his abduction and detention at a secret
location last year.
MDC Spokesman Nelson Chamisa condemned the
ongoing "intimidation" of media in Zimbabwe. He said Zimbabwe needs a
free media to bolster efforts to steer the country towards democracy.
police inspector Wayne Bvudzijena said he did not know of the raid on
the Independent or of the harassment of Spanish journalists. He also
said he could not say when any of those who are accused by the MDC of
murdering its members in the past decade might be arrested.