Two journalists were assaulted and injured by about six or seven armed soldiers in Warren Park, Harare on Wednesday evening while returning from work.
According to 263Chat reporter Costa Nkomo, Leopold Munhende who works for online publication NewZimbabwe.com and Munashe Chokodza, a photojournalist, were manhandled by soldiers even after they had produced their press cards. Nkomo posted on Twitter:
Journalists [Leopold Munhende] and [Munashe Chokodza] have been assaulted by soldiers in Warren Park this evening as they were coming from work.
Before assaulting the two, soldiers questioned them where they were coming from to which they responded that they were coming from work. They produced their press cards as proof that indeed they are journalists.
… On the 4th of April 2019, police officers stormed 263Chat office at Batanai Mall in Harare CBD and fired teargas inside the newsroom and took away my mobile phone. The police report was made but to no avail.
This was not the first time journalists were assaulted while conducting their duties during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
In April, a media watchdog, MISA Zimbabwe reported that a freelance journalist, Terence Sipuma, was on 11 April assaulted by members of the police and the army in Harare while conducting his duties.
Sipuma was stopped by the security officers at the Kuwadzana roundabout in Harare while on his way to Chegutu to report on Zimbabwe’s 21-day COVID-19 lockdown.