Journalists condemn Chamisa
Nevanji Munyaradzi Chiondegwa
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists have released a stinging rebuke on Citizen Coalition for Change president Nelson Chamisa’s ban on State Media from covering his rallies, calling the move a suppression of freedom of expression.
The statement by ZUJ comes after Chamisa’s declaration that State Media journalists work for ZANU PF and will not be allowed to cover his rallies and Press Conferences..
Said ZUJ, “As the nation gears up for the March 26 2022 by-elections the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) would like to urge all political parties in the country to accord unfettered access to all media during rallies and Press Conferences.”
ZUJ said the that during elections and because of the nature of their work, journalists are prone to heightened risks and targeting more than others exercising the same right of freedom of expression and opinion.
“Only recently the President of the newly launched Citizen Coalition for Change opposition (CCC) party, Nelson Chamisa, threatened to limit access to the party’s rallies and venues only to “genuine journalists who are not working for ZANU,” the statement read.
Chamisa was speaking in the aftermath of the violence that rocked his party’s rally in Kwekwe at the weekend, which his party blamed on the ruling ZANU PF.
At least one CCC activist reportedly died during the violent disruption while 17 others were injured.
It has since emerged that the dead was in no way associated with Chamisa’s party.
This came out at the funeral wake of the deceased.
The statement continued, “ZUJ does not believe for one moment that during elections, where parties’ political commitment to democracy is stretched to the limit, the same political parties are qualified to define who bona fide journalists are. This is particularly so as their first instict is naturally to control information reaching the public thereby actively participating in suppressing freedom of expression.”
ZUJ, however took time to remind media practitioners that professional journalism carries with it ethical and moral obligations which journalists have a duty to honour, not just at election time, but in all aspects of their work.
The statement ended, by saying, “Anything on the contrary undermines the professional credibility of the media, leading to alienation from the very public the media are supposed to serve.”