Senior Herald reporter Zvamaida Murwira and freelance journalist Anna Chibamu were allegedly harassed by MDC-T youths on 1 March 2018 at the party headquarters during a press conference to confirm Advocate Nelson Chamisa as the party President.
Journalists who attended the meeting reported to MISA Zimbabwe that the environment was intimidating and uncomfortable for the press to ask questions. It is said; Murwira questioned why the party was not holding a congress to decide its leadership. Chibamu made a follow up question, which irked the party leadership and structures who were in attendance.
At the end of the presser, the youths allegedly manhandled and shoved the two journalists as they accused them of pushing an anti-Chamisa agenda. The journalists managed to escape without sustaining injuries.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
It is deplorable to note that the party leadership used inflammatory language against the Herald reporter and did not restrain their supporters from harassing the journalists.
MISA Zimbabwe reiterates its position that media freedom and freedom of expression are rights that are core to the practice of journalism. These rights are constitutionally guaranteed and must be respected.
Politicians should not interfere with journalistic enterprise for self-serving reasons of political expediency and should approach the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe for redress if they have any grievances or complaints that are content related.
We urge all political parties to desist from the habit of inviting their structures and supporters to press conferences. This practise has a chilling effect on the media because of the intimidating atmosphere that is created. – MISA