The Canadian Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christina Buchan, has expressed concern over the attacks on journalists in Zimbabwe.
Ambassador Buchan noted that media workers continued to face violations, despite them being declared essential workers during the COVID-19 induced lockdowns. She said:
Journalists, even though they were considered essential workers during the pandemic continued to face detention and arrest.
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There have also been concerns on proposed laws such as the Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill, with some human rights activists fearing that the Bill contains some provisions that will obstruct the role of the media in the fight against corruption.
There is also a trend toward increased restrictions on free expression online, resulting from measures taken by some governments to censor or control digital technologies.
Ambassador Buchan made the remarks at a World Press Freedom Day roundtable meeting held at the Canadian ambassador’s residence last Friday.
The roundtable meeting was organised jointly by the Canadian embassy and MISA Zimbabwe.
Participants to the roundtable were drawn from the media, CSOs, legal fraternity and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
In 2021, MISA Zimbabwe recorded at least 52 journalists that had either been harassed, intimidated, assaulted or jailed.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Buchan noted that there had been some progress though in terms of the regulatory framework, particularly the repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act in 2020.