The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has castigated the assault of journalist Samuel Takawira by members of the police force this Tuesday at the Harare Magistrate Court where MDC Alliance activist Makomborero Haruzivishe was sentenced to 14 months in prison. Below is MISA Zimbabwe’s statement.
Samuel Takawira of 263Chat was assaulted by anti-riot police at the Magistrates Court in Harare on 6 April 2021 as they dispersed people from the court premises.
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Takawira sustained injuries on his left hand and had to seek medical attention.
He was among journalists that were at the court to cover the sentencing of opposition MDC Alliance youth activist Makomborero Haruzivishe, who was convicted for inciting public violence.
The journalists were outside the court after the sentencing for purposes of conducting interviews with lawyers representing Haruzivishe, and MDC Alliance spokesperson, Fadzayi Mahere, when the police started dispersing people from the court premises.
MISA Zimbabwe position
MISA Zimbabwe reiterates its long-standing position that journalists have the constitutional right to seek, receive and communicate information in terms of Section 61 of the Constitution.
The police and all other stakeholders should respect and promote media freedom by ensuring that there is no unjustified interference with the work of journalists.
MISA Zimbabwe urges all stakeholders, including the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs, to impress upon the police that any limitations to the enjoyment of constitutional rights are lawful, reasonable and proportionate as prescribed in Section 86 of the Constitution.