Demands by the Police that The Sunday Mail journalists arrested on November 2 should reveal their sources is a blatant violation of the Constitution, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, ZUJ, Secretary General, Foster Dongozi has said.
“Section 61 of the Constitution under Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Media clearly states that every person is entitled to Freedom of the Media, which freedom includes protection of the confidentiality of journalists’ sources of information,” said Dongozi.
He added that there was no need to arrest the journalists in the first place.
“The journalists have raised an issue about poaching in Hwange which we all know. Police should now move ahead and arrest the poachers and not the journalists. I thought they would be arresting poachers in Hwange but I was shocked to hear that they were at Herald House arresting journalists.”
Sunday Mail Editor, Mabasa Sasa, Investigations Editor Brian Chitemba and reporter Tinashe Farawo were arrested yesterday, 2 November at their offices over a story alleging that a senior police officer was involved in elephant poaching.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has condemned the arrests saying ironically, the journalists were arrested on November 2 , the UN Day Against Impunity for Targeting Journalists.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police have charged the Sunday editor Mabasa Sasa, and his two reporters Tinashe Farawo and Brian Chitemba with contravening Section 31 (a) (ii) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act (Chapter 9:23) for allegedly publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the State.
According to their lawyer, Tuesday, the journalists are expected to appear in court on Wednesday.