Zimbabwe: Another Journalist Arrested While Covering COVID-19 Lockdown

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Police continue to disregard government directives to allow journalists to use their 2019 accreditation cards after another journalist Nunurai Jena was arrested Thursday morning while doing his duties in Chinhoyi.

MISA-Zimbabwe Chinhoyi Chapter and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights reported in separate statements that the Voice of America (VOA) and Newsday correspondent was arrested at a roadblock in the Mashonaland West provincial capital whilst on duty and was detained at Chinhoyi Central Police Station.

Misa condemned the arrest.

"As MISA Zimbabwe Chinhoyi Chapter, we strongly condemn the arrest by Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers of a fellow journalist Nunurai Jena with Newsday and Voice of America for practising his duties with 2019 press card.

"Jena is currently being held at Chinhoyi Central Police Station, Traffic Department section after he was arrested at a police roadblock for operating using a 2019 accreditation press card," said MISA Chinhoyi chairperson Conrad Mupesa.

Police responded in a tweet.

Jena's arrest comes barely four days after the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services advised the ZRP to accept the 2019 accreditation cards as valid.

He is the third journalist to be arrested this week on the same "offence" by police who acknowledged receiving government's order to allow journalists to use 2019 press cards.

Mupesa added, "The act by the police not only in Chinhoyi but Mutare and Gweru is a great cause of concern.

"We therefore ask for coordination within the police force so that we work together in the fight against COVID-19 currently ravaging the world."

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