Chipinge – Masvingo Mirror says it is concerned by threats, including to do physical harm to its editor at Chipinge Times Ellen Mlambo.
Mlambo has received threats from political activists, civil servants and senior Government officials who are desperate to silence her over reports on rampant land grab scams in Chipinge and corruption in local authorities.
MISA Zimbabwe, a regional media organisation that stands for the rights of journalists has since issued out an international alert on the matter.
The Chief Editor Nkulumani Mlambo said that Mlambo (Ellen) was at one time threatened by a senior Government official but the official withdrew his statement and apologised to Ellen after she threatened to take the matter to Police.
“Matters came to a head last week when Ellen reported on a land wrangle involving two senior Zanu PF politicians. She has since received numerous threats both direct and indirect to the extent that we fear for her life.
“We wish to state categorically that Ellen’s duties as a journalist are protected by the highest laws of the land and as such threats of physical harm or otherwise are illegal and totally uncalled for. Ellen will not be deterred from carrying out her duties which are protected by the Constitution of Zimbabwe,” said Nkulumani Mlambo.
Some of the messages that Mlambo received last week include the following; take care of your own safety, leave land issues alone, Is Ellen safe? Batsirai Ellen Mlambo asaitiswa (Help Ellen so that she is not used by factions) and your reports on land issues are sensitive and you can get into trouble for that.
“MISA Zimbabwe reiterates that people who are not happy or feel aggrieved by media reports should file their complaints with the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) as opposed to threatening journalists conducting their lawful professional duties,” read the MISA statement.
Chipinge Times is a newspaper recently registered by the Zimbabwe Media Commission and it has unsettled people in corridors of power. It has exposed scandals in local authorities, Government departments and a scam involving RTGS$19m exchanged by an employee of a mobile cellular company for foreign currency on the black market.