Local journalist harassed and briefly detained at State House

A video clip showing state security agents harassing local journalist Violet Gonda at State House in Harare on 29 October 2018 has gone viral on social media.

Gonda was part of a group of journalists who were at State House to cover the closing proceedings of a meeting between President Emmerson Mnangagwa and the local business community.

She had just finished asking for a comment from local businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei and was in the process of interviewing Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor John Mangudya when three men grabbed her and marched her to one of the rooms at the State House complex.

In the short video clip, the men are heard arguing with Gonda as to who had given her permission to live-stream her interviews with local businesspersons and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials who attended the meeting.

The men who briefly detained Gonda for questioning are heard instructing her to stop the live-streaming and to switch off her phone. MISA Zimbabwe gathers that Gonda was eventually released without any charges.

Gonda says that she did not contravene any security protocols or behave in a way that was different from the other journalists covering the same proceedings. Early last month, the government temporarily denied Gonda a Zimbabwean passport. After having taken the responsible government body to court, she is yet to be issued with a passport.

MISA Zimbabwe Position

MISA Zimbabwe is concerned over the continued harassment of journalists by State agents. State-sponsored harassment has been mainly targeted at journalists working in private and independent media. Journalism is not a crime and MISA Zimbabwe urges the government to respect the media freedoms enshrined in the Zimbabwean constitution.

Source: MISA Zimbabwe

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