Zwnews Chief Correspondent

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwean Chapter (Misa Zimbabwe) has condemned the harassment and threatening of journalists who wanted to cover the Mayoral Elections in Chitungwiza.

On 4 September, 2018, ZANU PF supporters and councillors threatened journalists, when a commotion happened in the council chambers after a motion to postpone the elections by a ZANU PF councillor was rejected by the majority of councillors from MDC-Alliance.

Journalists who were covering the proceedings were threatened against doing so.

Meanwhile, Misa Zimbabwe says the expulsion of journalists from public events is uncalled for, as it violates media freedoms as provided for in the Zimbabwean Constitution.

Misa says citizens have a right to access information on government processes such as the election of Mayors and other public officers.

According to renowned political analyst Dr Pedzisai Ruhanya, free access to media and information is a basic human right for every citizen, though African governments have been suppressing that right, probably due to its influence in weakening of autocratic regimes.

Be that as it may, Zimbabwe has a long history of harassing journalists. In some instances journalists have been threatened, beaten up, arrested detained, at times released from detention without trial or charges levelled against them, the prime motive being to frighten them from carrying out their duties.

Misa has called on the Zimbabwean government to respect press freedom, adding that the profession of journalism is not a crime.

One of the principal roles of the media is its oversight role, it is the eye of the public and help in offering checks and balances on the three arms of the state, the executive, legislature, and the judiciary.  However, many governments who have skeletons in their chest to hide do not like this oversight role of the media.