The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA-Zim) has told Journalists to take heed of police directives during protests to prevent being assaulted as witnessed in the past.
Journalists have been victims of police violence during protests and demonstration while conducting their lawful duties which has been criticized by media practitioners and their representative organisations.
From January to August this year, 32 journalists have been arrested with some severely beaten compared to 28 reported the whole of last year and a petition signed by more than 200 journalists has been presented to the police boss Augustine Chihuri condemning the abuses .
Speaking to journalists in Gweru recently, MISA-Zim Programmes Coordinator Nyasha Nyakuni said journalists should not resist or confront police during such events for their own protection despite having the right to conduct their duties.
“When the police or any security personnel tell you to move, you move comrades; then you shall live to write the story or argue that their actions were unconstitutional after, because they also have the constitutional duty to maintain law and order.
“Never argue with security personnel mostly so because they have power over you,” said Nyakuni.
He said MISA-Zim is now taking practical action, not just denouncing the victimization of journalists as before, which has led to the signing of the petition.
“We said as an organisation we cannot continue to just issue statements condemning the victimization of journalists, we said we need to do something to defend our democratic space, we have to be our own liberators.
“So we came up with the idea of the petition which was signed by over 200 journalists which was presented to the Commissioner General who said they will do everything in their power to ensure that journalists conduct their duties without any hindrances,” he said.
Journalists from Kwekwe and Gweru attended the meeting which was focusing on the safety and security of journalists during protests or similar events.