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Attack on newspaper vendors in Harare

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This statement from the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) further discusses some of the violence experienced in Zimbabwe’s capital yesterday:

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) condemns in the strongest terms reports that youths suspected to belong to a certain political party destroyed large copies of NewsDay and harassed newspaper vendors from the stable in and around the city of Harare today.

The VMCZ notes with serious concern that this unwarranted intimidation of Newsday vendors is undemocratic and inimical to freedom of expression. It is our considered view that where citizens are against contents of a publication, or a media house, they should seek recourse either through the Media Complaints Committee under the auspices of VMCZ.

VMCZ  therefore urges those that are behind today’s barbaric actions to refrain from destroying the newspapers and harassing vendors who are going about in their daily duties but should instead allow the free flow of information in the country.

This is particularly important given that Article 19 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) recognizes 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, journalists and media publishing houses be allowed to continue their professional duties without any hindrance.

VMCZ strongly urges the Zimbabwe Republic Police to fully and impartially investigate the incidences of violence and bring the perpetrators to justice. We also call upon all 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.

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