This statement was originally published on zimbabwe.misa.org on September 21, 2018.
Police on 21 September 2018 briefly detained reporter Pauline Chateuka who works for Community Radio Harare (CORAH) for filming police officers as they arrested vendors around the Copacabana bus terminus in Harare.
Police detained Chateuka despite the fact that she was visibly displaying her press card. According to her, when the police noticed that she was using a video camera to record the unfolding events, one officer ran up to her and pushed her into a nearby police lorry with his rifle butt.
Chateuka was separated from her colleague Joseph Andras when the police drove off with her in their lorry. Andras remained in the Copacabana area and was accosted by riot police who demanded deletion of footage from his cellphone.
He refused to delete the footage saying he was a registered journalist. Chateuka was released an estimated 10 minutes later with no charges.
In a similar incident, police officers also briefly detained NewZimbabwe editor Gilbert Nyambavhu on 19 September 2018. Nyambavhu was taking pictures of the police during their raids on vendors in Harare. He was detained in the company of his colleague Idah Mhetu.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
MISA Zimbabwe condemns the censoring of media practitioners covering developing events in the capital. The right to access information and media freedom as provided for in the constitution remains fundamental as the nation and the world deserve to know about what is happening in Zimbabwe.
Police should allow journalists to conduct their journalistic duties without hindrance as provided for in the constitution.
MISA Zimbabwe also reminds media practitioners to employ the profession’s safety and security measures while covering hostile situations. Media practitioners are advised to also utilise the MISA JournoSOS App as well as the MISA Panic Button App in the event of any violations. MISA Zimbabwe staff is also on standby to assist media practitioners injured or arrested in the line of duty. The MISA Hotline is 0784 437 338.