ZRP Guarantees Journalists’ Safety During Elections
By Desire Tshuma
Journalists and the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) today held a dialogue in Harare to cement their working relationship as the nation approaches the 2023 general elections.
In previous years Police in Harare has been in a bad working relationship with media and today’s meeting was meant to resolve the bad working relationship between the members of the Fourth Estate and the ZRP.
The safety of journalists in the hands of the police especially towards the elections has not been good. A number of journalists have been harassed, assaulted and arrested and some lost their gadgets to the members of the police during the course of their duties.
“Journalists and the police are both working for the cause of the nation. Police should treat journalists with respect and dignity. Journalists are all equal regardless of which media houses they are working for, either he or she is a freelance journalist they must be allowed to cover any event even if it is a state event,” explained Perfect Hlongwane, ZUJ Secretary General.
Media Institute of Southern Africa Board of Trustees’ Chris Chinaka was also among the presenters and explained the importance of journalists -police working relationship.
“The safety of journalists is critical as they disseminate information to the public. Today we are happy as media for this engagement with the police as all of us are serving the nation in different aspects,” said Chinaka.
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe was also present represented by Nigel Nyamutumbu. Among the top police command who make presentations was Assistant Police Commissioner Paul Nyathi, who spoke on behalf of the police.
He said: “Assess the situation before getting into cross fire if you are covering volatile events, identify yourself to the police so that you cannot be mistakenly identified.”
Assistant Police Commissioner Nyathi also warned journalists not to abuse their press cards.
“If you are caught drinking beer in sheebens during a police raid, some of you produce their press cards to evade arrests purporting to be on duty. You should avoid that and exercise professionalism,” said Ass Com Nyathi.
He further said the media and the police should always find each other as both are working for the nation.
Nyathi also spoke about the surge of bogus police officers and said they have arrested at lot of them and they are still arresting as they tarnish the emerge of the police force.
“Don’t be embedded to the politicians to avoid police reaction during the rallies and as police we guarantee your safety every time,” concluded Ass Comm Nyathi