Police target private media ban from working during lockdown

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By Costa Nkomo

THE Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) is targeting a complete ban on private media journalists who do not work for any media house other than broadcasting stations that were favoured with operating licences by the Zanu PF led government.

This came out during a High Court hearing Friday in which media rights lobby, Misa-Zimbabwe is suing the police for harassing private media journalists during the government imposed 21-day lockdown against the spread of coronavirus.

Police, represented by the Attorney General’s office, told the court that only journalists from the licenced broadcasting houses were allowed under a Statutory Instrument that identified media as an essential service exempted from the unprecedented job and business break.

Tweeted top journalist Brezh Malaba;

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights also Tweeted;

Hearing was postponed Monday.

“The matter will proceed on Monday because we have run out of time and the court will therefore have to have another sitting to hear both parties,” said Misa-Zimbabwe lawyer Chris Mhike outside court Friday.

“We cannot go into the merits of the matter because the matter is still pending.  We will be able to go deeper into what transpired and what the issues are once the hearing is finished.”

Should the courts rule in favour of the police, this would see media organisations sympathetic to government covering the lockdown, if it is extended beyond Sunday by President Emmerson Mnangagwa.