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Media Freedom Violation Fears Mount Ahead Of Elections

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By Mandipa Masenyama


THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) regional director Tabani Moyo has bemoaned the worsening media freedom violations in Southern Africa saying Zimbabwe was the leading offender.

He said media violations are expected to escalate as the country prepares for elections, starting with the March 26 by-elections, seen as a dress rehearsal for the crunch 2023 general plebiscite.

“In Zimbabwe, Eswatini, Zambia we are talking of detentions, harassment, arrests and beating up of journalists. If you go to Lesotho, it goes even to shooting journalists. You go to Zambia, the cadres of the ruling party walk into a station and pull out a journalist live on air so it varies while in South Africa the reason why it dropped by one point is the use of rubber bullets and vandalizing community radio stations during the protest that nearly shifted the crowd when protesters were protesting against prosecution of former president Zuma,” Moyo said

Moyo said journalists are prone to harassment, arrest and ill treatment during election time as has been witnesses in the past.

“What we are then projecting is that because of this trend we have seen in 2021 chances are high that more attacks will happen because Zimbabwe, Angola and Lesotho are going for elections. In Zimbabwe, there will be by-elections this year, Lesotho will hold parliamentary and local government elections while there will be a full-scale election in Angola. What this means is that given what has happened in the past, chances are high that journalists will be on the reporting line of fire while the rest are of the fears of the shutting down of the internet,” Moyo added.