FULL TEXT: Journalist Charged For Contravening COVID-19 National Lockdown Regulations

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have said that a journalist, Nunurai Jena was Thursday arrested for violating some regulations which the government imposed this week to stop the spread of COVID-19.

We present ZLHR’s statement in full below.


ZIMBABWEAN police on Thursday 2 April 2020 arrested and charged Nunurai Jena, a freelance journalist with contravening some stringent regulations imposed this early week by government in a bid to combat the spread of coronavirus in the country.

The 55 year-old Jena, who become the latest person to fall victim to the country’s new and stringent measures, was charged with contravening section 11(a)(b) of the Public Health (COVID-19), Prevention, Containment and Treatment (National Lockdown) Order, 2020 and with disorderly conduct as defined in section 41(b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act after he was arrested while recording video footage of some police officers who were manning a checkpoint set up long the Chinhoyi-Chegutu highway in Mashonaland West province.

Zimbabwe Republic Police members, who arrested Jena claimed that he insulted some police officers who were manning the check point by accusing them of being corrupt and thus hindered and obstructed them from carrying out their duties including refusing to comply with their orders.

ZRP claimed that Jena, who is represented by Kudzai Choga of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, recorded a video footage of them checking on and educating some pedestrians and motorists about the carriage and movement of people as stipulated in regulations gazetted by government early this week to contain the spread of coronavirus and without the consent of police officers.

Jena, who was first quizzed for using a 2019 media accreditation card before the law enforcement agents backed down as its use is still valid owing to the delay by Zimbabwe Media Commission in gazetting new fees for renewal of media practitioners’ accreditation cards, becomes the latest person to be arrested and charged for breaching the national lockdown order.

The freelance journalist, who was taken to Chinhoyi Magistrates Court on Thursday 2 April 2020 but could not appear before a Magistrate as the courts were closed, is expected to appear in court on Friday 3 April 2020.


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