The South African National Editors’ Forum (Sanef) has called for the immediate release of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who was arrested for the third time on Friday.
In a statement, Sanef expressed concern on media freedom (or lack thereof) in Zimbabwe following the arrest of the freelance journalist on allegations of spreading falsehoods. It said:
Sanef also calls on Zimbabwe police to stop the relentless intimidation and harassment of journalist Hopewell Chin’ono, who was arrested for the third time on Friday 8th January 2021 for doing his job. We call for his unconditional and immediate release.
Chin’ono was one of several people who had demanded answers after a baby died, allegedly at the hands of police officers who were enforcing lockdown measures in Harare.
Police issued a statement denying reports that the child had died.
Sanef also castigated ZANU PF Director of Information and Publicity, Tafadzwa Tuboy Mugwadi who hurled insults towards SABC editor Sophie Mokoena for asking about President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s whereabouts as the country battles COVID-19. It further said:
Sanef has sadly noted the blatantly sexist and misogynistic vitriol directed from Mugwadi to SABC Foreign Editor Sophie Mokoena in a bid to intimidate, harass and stop her from doing her job of reporting on Zimbabwe and the continent.