Freelance journalist Tapiwa Zivira was on 16 July 2020 reportedly assaulted by the police and members of the Harare Municipal Police while filming an incident involving a truck driver and municipal police officers along Lytton Road in Harare.
According to Zivira, six municipal police officers and two police officers charged towards him in anger asking why he was filming the incident.
He was reportedly assaulted with fists and open palms despite his pleas that he was an accredited journalist while also duly showing them his Zimbabwe Media Commission-issued accreditation card.
Zivira told MISA Zimbabwe that one of the officers took his mobile phone and asked him to delete the footage he had taken. He refused to comply and was subsequently bundled into a municipal vehicle. He was dropped off when the vehicle reached Harare Central Police Station and the officers reportedly apologised for their actions.
Zivira who received medical treatment for injuries sustained on his face said one of his eyes was swollen and that he was also experiencing chest pains.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe condemns in the strongest of terms the continued unlawful and unjustified assault of journalists on duty by police officers who should otherwise be exemplary in their conduct as custodians of the law.
The Police Commissioner-General, Mayor of Harare and the Zimbabwe Media Commission, should urgently investigate these cases involving the continued assaults and harassment of journalists and bring the culprits to book.
Otherwise, these media freedom violations will continue with impunity posing a serious risk to the personal security and lives of journalists conducting their lawful professional duties.
MISA Zimbabwe also urges journalists to employ the profession’s safety and security measures when covering potentially hostile and harmful situations.
SOS journalists hotline
If you are a Zimbabwean journalist who has been injured, detained or arrested ín the line of duty, call MISA Zimbabwe’s 24/7 SOS journalist hotline on 0784 437 338 to access legal and/or medical assistance.
Don’t forget to have the number saved in your phone for emergencies!
Find out more about the hotline here.