Journalists Arrested For Taking Images Of Cops Arresting Lockdown Offenders

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By Masvingo Correspondent

POLICE in Masvingo Tuesday arrested and detained two journalists working for a local independent newspaper for taking pictures of an ongoing police blitz on those loitering in the central business district.

Simba Mtembo and Tony Phiri of The Mirror newspaper were detained by police for nearly an hour at Masvingo central police station before being released without any charges.

The journalists were taking pictures of police arresting suspected money changers milling around street pavements outside the publication’s office along Hofmeyer street.

Mtembo was handcuffed after refusing to hand over the camera the duo was using.

They were forced to walk to the police station and were only released after the intervention of senior police officers.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists vice president Godfrey Mutimba condemned the arrest of the two accredited journalists.

“We condemn in the strongest terms the harassment and detention of Mirror reporters by the police.

“We urge police to allow journalists to conduct their duty.

“It is actually barbaric to handcuff reporters while doing their work. Journalism is not a crime,” Mutimba said.

The country’s police force has intensified enforcement of national lockdown measures set by government to curb the spread of Covid-19.

To date, a total of 2 615 people have been arrested countrywide for unnecessary movement, failure to put on face masks and operating businesses not classified as essential services.