Back to Index
statement on police visit to the offices of the Zimbabwe Independent
Media Council of Zimbabwe
August 11, 2011
The VMCZ expresses grave concern at the request to question the
Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Mr. Chimakure and Senior Political
Reporter, Wongai Zhangazha this week by the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP). The intentions of the police, as reported in the Zimbabwe
Independent on 12 August 2011, is to ask the two journalists to
'assist with investigations' by revealing the sources
of a story on the National Youth Service published in the same paper
on July 8 2011. The visit to the offices of Alpha Media Holdings
(AMH) , who are the publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent, by detectives
from the CID Law and Order Section, can only be viewed as an act
of intimidation of the media by the ZRP.
of the visit, which was reportedly to seek to have the two journalists
reveal their sources for the story in question is patently undemocratic
and is against the spirit and letter of Section 20 of Zimbabwe'
Article 9 of the African
Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well as Article 19 of
the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights all of which guarantee every Zimbabwean the
right to receive and impart information. Further to this, the act
by the police of seeking out sources of news stories from journalists
undermines the basic tenet of freedom of information in a democratic
society wherein it is expected that all 'whistleblowers'
that leak information in the public interest should not face arrest.
The story on the National Youth Service is in the public interest
as it affects parents, guardians and all young people in Zimbabwe.
The intentions of the CID Law and Order Section in seeking the sources
of the stories from the two journalists are unfortunate and potentially
sinister in intent.
It is a cardinal
rule that journalists do not reveal their sources if the latter
choose not to want to be known publicly. UNESCO and international
media freedom organisations such as Article 19, the Media Institute
of Southern Africa, through model Freedom of Information Acts and
in the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting an Independent and Plurastic
Media (1991) have recognised access to information as vital to the
construction of democratic societies. This includes the protection
of journalists from being forced to reveal their sources together
with the protection of 'whistleblowers' of information
that is in the public interest.
The VMCZ therefore
calls upon the inclusive government, in particular the Ministries
of Justice and Legal Affairs, Home Affairs and Media Information
and Publicity to urgently review the Official Secrets Act, the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act together with the
(Codification and Reform) Act and repeal sections in them that
seek to criminalise the media profession, whistleblowing and the
right freedom of expression as well as access to information.
the VMCZ fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.