Journalists and members of staff in TellZim’s Masvingo office were on 21 March 2018 verbally abused and threatened by two MDC-T provincial leaders at the newspaper’s offices in the city centre. The perpetrators of the attack were Mr Murangamwa Chanyau and Mr Peter Chigaba who serve as the MDC-T district chairperson and provincial administrator respectively.
The duo stormed the newsroom in reaction to a story published by TellZim News on 15 March 2018, in which the publication set out details of how the MDC-T in Masvingo province was allegedly planning to replace all sitting councillors with new ones. The visibly angry MDCT officials accused the publication of being aligned to the Zanu-PF as well as the MDC-T faction which supports former MDC-T legislator for Masvingo Urban, Mr Tongai Matutu, which is allegedly at loggerheads with the one led by Mr Takanayi Mureyi.
During the attacks, the two MDC-T officials also discouraged TellZim from publishing articles which portray the MDC-T in a bad light.
MISA Zimbabwe Position
This is the second incident this year in which members of the MDC-T have been implicated in violations against journalists. This particular incident is more worrying because the perpetrators took the violation a step further when they attempted to gag TellZim News journalists from carrying out their duties as provided for in the constitution of Zimbabwe.
MISA Zimbabwe reiterates its position that media freedoms such as the right to freedom of expression and access to information are the cornerstones of the practice of journalism. These rights are constitutionally guaranteed and must be respected. MISA Zimbabwe also takes this opportunity to remind members of the public to approach the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe with complaints on the content published in the media instead of assaulting or hindering journalists from doing their job.
Source: MISA Zimbabwe