International Federation of Journalists blasts MDC for assaulting journalist

THE Intenationa Federation of Journalists (IFJ) on Thursday condemned the Movement for Democratic Change led by Nelson Chamisa for the assault of a journalist at a rally on Wednesday in Mbare, Harare.

Robert Tapfumaneyi, a journalist working for Syl media, was assaulted by the security personnel of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) on Tuesday, 21 January while he was covering a party event in the capital Harare.

In a statement issued on its website, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joined the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) in condemning this attack on press freedom and urged the MDC to refrain from such acts of violence against journalists.

The journalist was harassed and attacked by the MDC security staff who accused him of working for the State Broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC). Security staff also grabbed his camera and threw it to the floor and prevented him from covering the event.

This new attack adds to the long list of journalists who have been threatened, beaten or arrested by security forces and political activists in Zimbabwe in recent months.

ZUJ’s General Secretary, Foster Dongozi, condemned the attack and called on MDC officials to apologise publicly to Robert Tapfumaneyi and “replace his equipment if it was damaged during the scuffle”.

The ZUJ also urged the MDC to establish a clear protocol for security personnel on how to deal with the media at their public events. This new protocol must guarantee journalists’ safety.

“Several journalists have indicated that they are now afraid of covering MDC events because they feel threatened by the security details and that needs to be solved”, the ZUJ added.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger said: “the attack on Robert Tapfumaneyi was a deliberate attempt to stop him from performing his work.

We support ZUJ’s call on MDC officials to apologise for the attack, fully refund and compensate Robert for damage caused and issue a media protocol for their workers that clearly guarantees journalists’ freedom and protection when covering their events”