Security forces in Zimbabwe and all other stakeholders should respect media freedom as envisaged in the Constitution after two journalists were on 24 November 2020 detained by soldiers from the Air Force of Zimbabwe in Gweru for about four hours, the Media Institute of Southern Africa has said.
The two, Elizabeth Mashiri, the assistant editor for The Masvingo Mirror and Patrick Chitumba, the Chronicle Bureau Chief for the Midlands province, were detained after soldiers found them taking picture at a site where an Air Force aeroplane crushed and killing two pilots early this week.
“When MISA Zimbabwe communicated with the duo upon their release from captivity, they highlighted that they were made to do toyi-toyi; their phones were confiscated and forced to delete the pictures from the scene of the accident as well as other phone contacts,” MISA said in a statement.
“In the event where security forces, stakeholders and the broader public feel aggrieved by the media, MISA Zimbabwe urges stakeholders to not take the law into their own hands but instead use lawful and professional mechanisms to address such circumstances.”
Such professional steps include utilising the Zimbabwe Media Commission as the constitutional body set up in terms of Section 249 of the Constitution to receive and consider complaints on the conduct of the media and to take professional action in the event of any breach of law or code of conduct and the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, MISA added.