After journalists from NewsDay and other private media houses were barred from an event graced by First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa last week, groups representing the country’s scribes have challenged the president’s wife to rein in her ‘overzealous’ security staffers.
This comes after some private media journalists were barred from an event where Auxillia was commissioning a clinic at the Marondera Female Open Prison last Tuesday.
Discriminately, only state media journalists were allowed to cover the function.
“We appeal to the First Lady to rein in her overzealous officers who appear content in perpetuating the media hangmen tag of the previous republic. It is our prayer and hope that the First Lady is not privy to the shenanigans of the gatekeepers around her,” said Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) coordinator Njabulo Ncube.
He said it was ‘disheartening’ that this was not the first time that journalists representing private media houses have been barred from covering activities of the First Lady.
“It then begs the question: Is the second republic sincere in rolling out wide sweeping media reforms or it’s applying lipstick to a frog,” Ncube added.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said in a statement that:
”Journalists should always be allowed to cover public events without any hindrance and regardless of the publications they work for as this enhances citizens’ right to access to information”.
In the same vein, Zimbabwe Online Content Creators chairperson Toneo Rutsito cited a number of events where private media journalists were barred from Auxillia’s events.
“We note with concern that there has been a growing trend of accredited personnel being blocked from covering events officiated by the First Lady. What is more concerning is that the officials often unleash State security agents to force online content creators out of any proximity to the First Lady’s functions,” he said.
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