Security forces ordered to respect journalists
THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission has ordered government respect the media in the wake of numerous reports on abuses carried out by the security forces at the height of the Covid19 lockdown restrictions.
In a ZHRC statement on the protection of the Right to Press Freedom, ZHRC called on the government to respect, protect and promote the rights of media practitioners.
“Government should enable media houses which are in compliance with laws regulating the media to operate without interference and undue restraint,” ZHRC said in a statement.
The rights lobby group said since the initial phase to the national lockdown due to the Covid19 pandemic violations in the forms of failure to recognize the media as an essential service, restrained movement , physical assault by law enforcement agents,degrading treatment and increased accusations on publishing falsehoods were noted.
ZHRC reminded government that the freedom of the media and or the ress is the principle that communication and expression through various media should be a right which should be exercised freely.
“It includes the right to report news circulate opinions without intereference from the government and protection of the confidentiality of journalists sources of information as well as guarantee of the safety of journalists , among others,” explained the rights commission.
The commission also argued that Section 61 of the constitution clearly guarantees the freedon of the media which includes freedom to seek , receive and communicate ideas and other information.
Several journalists reported that they were severely beaten up by the security forces , sent back home , instructed to toyi-toyi among other prominent abuses.
The Information Ministry also worked closely with the media to protect their rights but often times the security forces continued to act otherwise.
ZHRC also charged challenged the media practitioners and media houses to operate within the confines of the law and urged to desist from peddling falsehoods, fueling conflict and violence and promoting divisions among citizens.
“Media should report truthfully and without fear or favour,” ZHRC added.