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Brutality and aggression against journalists by state security forces must stop

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Brutality and aggression against journalists by state security forces must stop. The two journalists, Leopold Munhende and Munashe Chokodza were accosted by the security forces while coming from work.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, has called on the Zimbabwean government to ensure the safety of journalists following the latest incident in which two journalists were tortured by soldiers and police officers on patrol in Harare on Wednesday evening.

They informed the ZUJ office that when asked why they were out and about, they explained that they were journalists coming from work and proceeded to produce their accreditation cards.

One of the soldiers then called out loudly that they were actually on the hunt for journalists during their operations under the current COVID19 lockdown. The security forces then went on to torture and humiliate the journalists for their own amusement.

The journalists sustained injuries as they were tackled to the ground and beaten with truncheons and whips. They have received medical attention while efforts to make a police report were initially being resisted.

ZUJ Secretary General Foster Dongozi said what was alarming was the admission by security forces that they were on the hunt for journalists.

“The admission that journalists are a special target explains the huge body count of journalists who have been beaten, arrested or harassed by Zimbabwean security forces since the COVID19 lockdown.

“That is totally unacceptable because as Zimbabweans, journalists are equally entitled to protection and safety which should be provided by the State and its different organs.”

Dongozi said following the crackdown by the security forces, they were left with no option but to appeal to the government to guarantee the safety and protection of journalists and media workers.

“The abuse and harassment of Zimbabwean journalists by Zimbabwean security forces has reached epidemic levels and we appeal to the government to ensure that journalists are safe and protected. “These unwarranted acts of brutality, aggression and destabilisation of journalists doing their work must stop immediately,” said Dongozi.

Source – Bulawayo24 News

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