Govt comes clean on journalists’ status during lockdown

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By Mary Taruvinga

GOVERNMENT has finally come clean on the status of the country’s media during the current Covid-19 national lockdown in which citizens have been stopped from going to work.

There was confusion on whether journalists were part of the said essential services exempted from the compulsory business and job break against the spread of coronavirus.

But Information Ministry permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana has said the practice of journalism will be gazetted as an essential service during the lockdown.

“The Media Services and the practice of journalism will be gazetted as an essential service,” Mangwana posted on Twitter Sunday.

The period was Sunday extended by another two weeks by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

During the initial 21-days decreed by the national leader, journalists, especially those working for private media, were being harassed while pursuing their work by security establishments deployed to enforce the lockdown.

Police enforcement teams were saying they were not properly briefed by their superiors on the status of journalists during the period.

This could put to rest the bad blood between the State and the media.

Police Friday threw the proverbial cat among the pigeons when it argued in court, journalists other than those working for radio stations, were supposed to stay at home.

This was after media rights lobby, Misa-Zimbabwe had taken the country’s law enforcement agency to court seeking an order for the protection of journalists going about their lawful duties.