from MARCUS MUSHONGA in Harare, Zimbabwe
HARARE, (CAJ News) – THE legal fraternity has called on the Zimbabwean government to make a commitment towards respecting, protecting and promoting press freedom in the country.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) made the call on Monday as the globe commemorated World Press Freedom Day.
ZLHR denounced the systematic persecution of members of the press by authorities in Zimbabwe.
The organisation said this posed a grave threat to the country’s democracy, the rule of law and human rights.
“The use of intimidation tactics, censorship, arrests and lengthy detentions on journalists is in direct contravention of the rights to freedom of expression and freedom of the media which are enshrined in section 61 of the Constitution,” ZLHR stated.
“The section guarantees everyone the right to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information. The persecution of journalists and other members of the press by state actors is unconstitutional and violates these constitutional rights.”
World Press Freedom Day is commemorated every year on May 3.
It raises awareness on the crucial oversight role played by a free press in exposing the abuse of public power, emphasise the importance of media independence and pay tribute to the members of the press who have been harassed, attacked, detained and killed for their work in the press.
– CAJ News