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Home | ZimCrisis#107 -- Attacks on Reporters Condemned

Date: Fri, 21 Jul 2000 16:08:43 -0700
To: "Zimbabwe Crisis Mailing List":;
From: Zimbabwe Crisis
Subject: ZimCrisis#107 -- Attacks on Reporters Condemned

July 17th 2000

THE Media Monitoring Project deplores recent incidents in which journalists from the state controlled and privately owned Press have been assaulted and detained by war veterans. Any attack on media workers conducting their business in a lawful and peaceful manner must be condemned in the strongest terms, not only because it is illegal, but because it represents the violent repression of public opinion and therefore undermines the foundations of democratic society.

In the most recent incident, war veterans assaulted a reporter from The Standard newspaper at their meeting on Saturday outside ZANU PF headquarters in Harare. Other journalists at the meeting were subjected to incessant, aggressive and intimidating verbal abuse.

In the previous week, a reporter and photographer from The Herald newspaper attempting to gather news relating to land resettlement, were detained, interrogated and threatened for three hours by war veterans occupying a farm in the Centenary area of Mashonaland Central.

MMPZ condemns such illegal activities as totally unacceptable because they threaten the security of journalists and interfere with the fundamental democratic right of the nation to be accurately informed.

The recent parliamentary election has spawned a hostile and polarized political climate in the country. As a result, many journalists have been subjected to numerous threats, intimidation and even abduction by various groups and gangs exploiting the erosion of civic order in recent weeks to take the law into their own hands for their own political advantage. Contrary to the latitude the war veterans have been given, they are not above the law, and those responsible for these acts of lawlessness against media workers conducting their business in a lawful and peaceful manner should be brought to justice without delay.

MMPZ believes these incidents constitute a blatant attempt to terrorize journalists and prevent them from doing their work freely and without hindrance. The Project therefore calls upon the authorities to ensure that justice prevails in order to discourage further violent incidents, and to reaffirm the authority of the rule of law.

For more information about the Project, previous issues of the MMPZ reports and alerts, please visit our website at http://www.icon.co.zw/mmpz or contact the Project Coordinator, MMPZ, 221 Fife Avenue, Harare, Tel/fax: 263 4 733486, 734207, E-mail: monitors@icon.co.zw .

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Brief list of helpful sites on the issue:
- Zimbabwe Crisis mailing list archives -- http://www.niner.net/zimcrisis
- Comprehensive news updates -- http://www.1freespace.com/beetee
- Offers of and requests for help for Zimbabweans -- http://pub9.ezboard.com/boffersofhelp
- Commercial Farmers' Union -- http://www.mweb.co.zw/cfu
- Movement for Democratic Change -- http://www.in2zw.com/mdc
- Zimbabwe Democracy Trust -- http://www.zimbabwedemocracytrust.org
- BSAP Pursuit of Zimbabwean Criminals -- http://www.bsaphq.f9.co.uk