VMCZ Statement on the attack on Masvingo Mirror Editor and threats against newspaper vendors by ex-political prisoners

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) condemns in the strongest terms the attack on Masvingo Mirror news-editor, Passmore Kuzipa, by a car dealer based in Masvingo. The VMCZ also notes with concern threats made on vendors selling privately owned newspapers by members of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees’ Association (Zeppdra).

Kuzipa was allegedly assaulted by Gabriel Mupasiri, a car dealer on 24 May 2012.

Mupasiri allegedly stormed into the Masvingo Mirror newsroom and said he wanted to see the author of a satirical column, Hot on the Heels, which carried a story titled – Rhodene man locks up wife, published in the weekly edition of 24-31 May 2012.

The column however did not name Mupasiri, but the car dealer insisted he was the person referred to in the story. After failing to identify the author of the column Mupasiri allegedly assaulted Kuzipa with clenched fists.

In another case of concern members of the Zimbabwe Ex-Political Prisoners, Detainees and Restrictees’ Association (Zeppdra) on 27 May 2012 threatened to attack vendors selling privately owned newspapers. The ex-political prisoners alleged that the private publications were not giving positive coverage to President Robert Mugabe.

VMCZ condemns in the strongest terms the attack on Kuzipa and threats on the newspaper vendors. VMCZ urges members of the public, who have a problem with any media story as is published by print or broadcast media in the country, to desist from taking the law into their own hands but should approach the VMCZ Media Complaints Committee, set up by journalists, to seek redress.

VMCZ also calls on organisations and political parties in the country to warn their supporters to refrain from attacking newspaper vendors and destroying newspapers as this infringes on freedom of expression and denies Zimbabweans an opportunity to have multiple sources of information.

Article 19 of the GPA recognises the importance of the right to freedom of expression and the role played by a free media in a multi-party democracy. It is therefore important that newspaper vendors and media publishing houses be allowed to continue their professional duties without any hindrance.

Freedom of expression and the right to report and publish freely is enshrined in the country’s constitution and we challenge the Government of National Unity to ensure that the right is protected.

We also call upon the police to investigate the attack on Kuzipa and bring to book the perpetrator of this violence while protecting every citizen’s right to information and freedom of expression.

Post published in: News
  1. david mataruse

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