Zimbabwe: Attacks Against Journos a New Low

editorial

The barbaric attacks against journalists attending a press conference in Harare on Friday was a new low for Zimbabwe and it should worry everyone, who cares about the rule of law.

Yet-to-be-identified thugs descended on the journalists that were being addressed by Zimbabwe National Students' Union (Zinasu) president Takudzwa Ngadziore near the Impala Car Rentals offices.

The press conference followed Ngadziore's detention a week ago for allegedly leading protests demanding Impala's cooperation in investigations into the abduction of journalism student Tawanda Muchehiwa.

Muchehiwa, a nephew of ZimLive editor Mduduzi Mathuthu, was tortured by suspected state security agents that held him for three days.

It has since emerged that one of the cars that was used to commit the heinous crime was rented from Impala and Zinasu leaders want the car rentals company to provide details of the person, who was hired the car since police appear reluctant to investigate the matter.

On Friday, the journalists who were attacked while doing their jobs sustained injuries of varying degrees and others lost equipment such as cameras and mobile phones that were taken away by the assailants.

Journalists in Zimbabwe, especially those employed by privately-owned media organisations, already operate under very difficult conditions where they are routinely targeted by law enforcement agents yet their practice is protected by the constitution.

Predictably, the government has not said anything about the latest attacks.

Those responsible for the media sector in government probably endorse the attacks as they have been at war with Zimbabweans that are demanding credible investigations into the spate of abductions that increased on the eve of the July 31 protests against corruption.

Nonetheless, we expect the Zimbabwe Republic Police to do its job and bring the assailants to book.

Anything short of swift arrests of the men, who were caught on camera committing a brazen crime will send the wrong signals that criminals can assault journalists without any repercussions.

Already, police are under scrutiny over their handling of the matter after they arrested Ngadziore, who was brutally attacked during the same incident.

The student leader is a victim of a criminal act and he needed police protection not victimisation.

Police's handling of Muchehiwa's case also leaves a lot to be desired and it is high time the force started showing some professionalism.

Zimbabwe has too many cases of abductions that remain unresolved and it cannot continue to be business as usual for the police whose main responsibility is to ensure the rule of law prevails.

More From: Zimbabwe Standard

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