GWERU – Zimbabwe Republic Police Officer commanding Midlands Province Commissioner Winston Muza recently pledged commitment to cordial relationships with the media in engagement bent towards creating an enabling operating environment for the media ahead of the 2023 elections.
Speaking during the engagement organized by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) – Zimbabwe, Commissioner Muza said they applaud the fact that friction between the media and police in the Midlands has been minimal and good relations should be maintained.
“The media plays a key role in our communities and as such should be protected. I am glad that there has been no friction between the media and police in the Midlands and therefore cordial relationships should be maintained,” he said.
Towards strengthening these relationships, the media was invited to conduct quarterly meetings with journalists in the province.
Comm Muza further invited officers commanding districts from Zvishavane, Gokwe, Kwekwe, Gweru Urban, and Rural to the interface who also pledged cooperation with the media.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Republic Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi urged journalists not to be used by politicians as that usually lends them in trouble.
Speaking interface between the media and the police convened by Misa-Zimbabwe, Ass Comm Nyathi said as the country moves towards elections there are going to be rallies and journalists should not be caught in the crossfire.
He said the police have a problem with certain journalists who move around with politicians and are part of their entourage.
“When we have problems, it is difficult to separate the journalist from the politician.
“If there is a disorderly contact, and the police want to restore order, it is difficult to separate the two,” he said.
In cases of demonstrations and rallies, Ass Comm Nyathi said it was important for journalists to identify themselves to ground commanders for their protection.
Nyathi said the relationship between the media and police in Gweru was cordial and needs to be applauded.
“We are serving one constituency which is the public with the goal being that the development of Zimbabwe takes in a peaceful manner,” he said.
He however urged journalists to separate their work from their private lives as they are not immune from arrest.
Ass Comm Nyathi urged the media to be fair and pledge to be accurate, balanced, and non-sensationalist, not cause alarm, and despise the police.
Misa-Zimbabwe board of trustees Chairperson Chris Chinaka said the interface was meant to improve and strengthen relations as well as make sure journalists have safe working conditions.