By Pauline Hurungudo
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe has recorded an increase in media violations carried out by the military as compared to the past years when the police were behind most of abuses of media practitioners.
According to the media watchdog, while the police have abridged the past gruesome persecution of journalists, improving relations, a significant number of journalists assisted by Misa last year were assaulted by members of the military.
In 2018, Misa recorded 32 violations against journalists and five incidents against media houses.
In a report titled ‘‘Misa Annual report 2018’’ published yesterday, Misa said liaison with Zimbabwe Republic Police and representatives saw a decrease in the number of cases where police officers engaged in the violations of media freedoms in the country.
“No local journalist was arrested or assaulted (by the police) during the 2018 election period and more-so, during the election-related demonstrations that rocked Harare on August 1, 2018,” the report read.
However, an upsurge was seen in the number of cases recorded involving the violations of both local and foreign journalists by the military during the violent demonstrations in Harare on August 1, 2018.
In a Media Alert report dated August 3, 2018 Misa recorded several cases of injuries incurred during assault.
This comes after soldiers last year denied accusations of brutally killing six people while injuring scores of people using guns, sjambocks, buttons, stones and other unknown objects.
At the same time, soldiers were recorded to have censored media practitioners demanding them to delete and switch off their cameras while covering the unfolding events.
“We will maintain an alliance-based approach in advocacy for media freedom and protection of citizens’ rights to free expression and access to information,” Misa said stating the objectives that will set their advocacy space for 2019.
“Government and its security arms, as well as political parties should prioritise the safety of journalists.
“We will demand and push for an end to impunity on crimes and violence against journalists and engage the military in view of the media violations that occurred in Harare on the 1st of August 2018,” the report read. DailyNews