Private media journalists were barred from covering the commissioning of the new Robert Gabriel Mugabe (RGM) International Airport terminal

PRESIDENT Emmerson Mnangagwa’s security yesterday barred private media journalists from covering the commissioning of the new Robert Gabriel Mugabe (RGM) International Airport terminal.

Only journalists from the State media were granted access to tour the facility with the President.

Zimbabwe National Editors Forum co-ordinator, Njabulo Ncube, said they were puzzled by the development which he equated to an assault on the freedom of the media as enshrined in the Constitution.

“The Zinef Forum is puzzled by this development which to all intents and purposes is another affront to freedom of the media which is enshrined in our constitution,” Ncube said. “We condemn these tactics that appear intended to perpetuate polarisation in our media sector. We are presently trying to seek an audience with our ministry.”

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general, Perfect Hlongwane said there is no justification for barring journalists from private media from covering national events.

“It is important that authorities from government departments understand that journalists are journalists,” Hlongwane said.

“That they work on different media houses must not be an issue. It is our appeal especially to the President of the Republic to say that journalists should be allowed to work, allowed access and allowed to cover events such as this one.

“Those that hold public office should be accountable to the public and they ­can be accountable to the public through the stories that we write as the media.”

During World Press Freedom Day commemoration in May this year, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa reiterated government its commitment to protection of media freedoms.

“The Second Republic observes the freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Constitution of Zimbabwe Section 61. We are aware that as Zimbabwe it is our responsibility to reassert the importance of the media in upholding other human rights, as they serve as watchdogs, exposing social, economic inequalities and violations of human rights through accurate, ethical and balanced reporting,” Mutsvangwa said. — NewsDay

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