Zimbabwe News and Internet Radio

Journalist attacked, detained for recording police in Zimbabwe

Police and politicians in Zimbabwe should respect the right of journalists to report the news without fear of intimidation or violence, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said on Thursday after police beat up a journalist in the capital, Harare.

Police beat up journalist Tapiwa Zivira
Police beat up journalist Tapiwa Zivira

The attack on Wednesday followed a statement made last week by Grace Mugabe, the wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, in which she said journalists working for privately owned media were opposition activists and were bribed to write negative stories about her, news reports said.

Grace Mugabe announced her candidacy to succeed her husband as president, according to news reports.

“Public figures should have a high tolerance for criticism and should never disparage independent journalists for doing their work,” CPJ’s Africa Program Coordinator Sue Valentine said.

“Such comments clearly can put journalists at risk of harassment or violence.”

Tapiwa Zivira, a journalist who produces multimedia content for the privately owned independent paper Newsday, was in downtown Harare on Wednesday and was filming police detaining street vendors allegedly trading without a permit and other individuals, he told CPJ.

Police have been photographed previously by Newsday taking heavy-handed action against touts marshaling commuters into taxis.

Zivira said that when police saw him recording their actions, they began to beat him with their fists and batons and threw him into the police van. He was held for four hours at the police station before he was released.

TheCommittee to Protect Journalists is an independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide.