State urged to educate operatives on journalists’ role during lockdown

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By Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) has called on the army and police to properly brief their operatives on that journalists were permitted to work during the current national lockdown imposed by government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

This follows continued harassment targeted at journalists by police and soldiers enforcing the 21-day lockdown.

Journalists found doing their jobs or simply walking to their workplaces have been targeted for allegedly violating the lockdown regulations with journalists Mary Taruvinga and Alois Vinga being the latest to be confronted in Harare’s CBD and ordered to go back home by patrol teams Friday.

In a statement Friday, Zinef National coordinator Njabulo Ncube urged the concerned security agencies to observe the rights of the media lest they undermine ongoing concerted efforts to tame the world pandemic.

Njabulo Ncube

“Zinef is appealing to the government to specifically alert law enforcement agencies, particularly soldiers and police, that journalists and their media are an essential service.

“Failure to decree this will result in lack of useful, reliable and truthful information on the present fight against the deadly epidemic,” Ncube said.

He added, “I have received reports of some journalists being arrested while one was today made to toyi toyi while on duty.

“This is a disservice to the fight against the spread of coronavirus.”

Ncube said the media’s role in the current struggle to combat Covid-19 was not any different from that of doctors, nurses and other support services in the health sector who constitute frontline staff against what he described as a “faceless and silent enemy”.

“The media’s special role against this ravaging enemy cannot be downplayed by lack of clarity as one of essential services as the country trudges along during this lockdown.”