HARARE: The Young Journalists Association (YOJA) has resolved to sue police officers who harass their members in their individual capacity as a deterrent measure.
This follows the arrest of 10 journalists, their three-hour detention, and eventual release without charge in Harare on Thursday.
The journalists, Leopold Munhende, Thomas Madhuku, Nyashadzashe Ndoro, Robert Tapfumaneyi, Marshal Bwanya, Gaddaffi Wells, Adrian Matutu, Tongai Mwenje, and Tinashe Muringai had gone to ZEC offices to cover a demonstration by members of the MDC Alliance.
The journalists were taken to Harare Central Police Station before being released without charge, following the intervention of lawyer Chris Mhike.
The media support organization noted that dialogue had failed to provide expected character change within the force.
“Following the arrest and detention of 10 journalists in Harare on Wednesday 30 September 2021 the Young Journalists Association (YOJA) will be lodging a formal complaint with the police,” read the statement.
“The intention is part of a multipronged approach to end impunity within the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). Previous efforts to do so through dialogue have been futile hence we hope suing implicated officers in their individual capacity and seeking termination of their services from the force might deter future aggressors.
“As other media support organizations engage in dialogue, we hope this approach will be welcome as another avenue for behavior change,” the statement further reads.
Journalists and police chefs have had numerous engagements where the latter is accused of not meeting their part of the bargain as junior officers have continued to detain, arrest and detain journalists, further tarnishing the battered image of Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe also condemned the arrests.
“It is worrying that members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police continue to arrest journalists who would have accreditation cards and also advised that they are undertaking their professional duties. MISA Zimbabwe calls the ZRP to desists from unjustifiably interfering with the work of media practitioners,” wrote the media watchdog.