Zanzibar — DESPITE visible improvement in press freedom, reporters in Zanzibar are still facing harassment mainly from followers of social organizations and law enforcers, editors have observed.
"It is unfortunate that there have been incidents of harassment to reporters in 2012. We need this to come to an end," said Veteran Journalist Mr Salim Said Salim at a day long Editors' forum - Zanzibar meeting.
A number of reporters who attended the meeting held at the Zanzibar Department of Information - Maelezo Conference Hall gave their testimony of recent harassment in Zanzibar.
Ms Salama Njani, an Information Officer from the office of Chief Government Statistician was intimidated in August by Kilindi villagers, while Ms Salma Said (Mwananchi) and Mr Munir Zakaria (Channel 10) were roughed up by followers of Uamsho Muslim group during October unrest.
Some reporters were also harassed last Tuesday by the police, at the Regional Court Vuga, where they had gone to cover a story about the eight Uamsho leaders facing charges of incitement of violence in Zanzibar which is threat to the national security.
Reporters complained that they were harassed and blocked by the police form entering the court room to follow up the case, and it appeared a trend since the beginning of Uamsho case, some of the reporters faced unnecessary difficulties in doing their job.
The Interim chairperson of the Editors Forum- Zanzibar, Mr Abdallah Mohammed asked for concerned authorities to make sure that reporters get information accordingly, as any kind of harassment was nothing short of suppression of the press freedom and democracy.
Mr Suleiman Seif and Ms Shifa Said both from the Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) - Zanzibar asked journalists who are victims of harassments and intimidation to report to MCT for records.
The Zanzibar editors also requested all affiliated to various religious groups and political parties and the police across the United Republic of Tanzania to make sure that journalists were protected while on duty, as torture of reporters including the killing of Channel 10's reporter; Daudi Mwangosi this year tarnished the country's image.