Politics & General News

Stop intimidating NewsHawks journalists

_The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an American non-governmental organisation that promotes press freedom and defends the rights of journalists on Friday, 23 February said Zimbabwean authorities must end the intimidation and surveillance of journalists working for The NewsHawks online newspaper and ensure they can report safely about the military._This comes after The NewsHawks, a privately owned investigative online newspaper, announced on Tuesday that it had postponed further reporting on its 12 February story that three Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) generals were dismissed following allegations of corruption.

Speaking with CPJ, The NewsHawks’ managing editor Dumisani Muleya, said the publication had decided to stop further reporting on the issue due to concerns over the safety of its journalists.Angela Quintal, head of CPJ’s Africa program in New York, urged the Zimbabwean government to take action against state officials who have threatened The NewsHawks journalists. Said Quintal:Zimbabwean authorities must guarantee the safety of journalists and take action against state officials whose threats and intimidation have forced The NewsHawks staff to censor their reporting on allegations of military corruption.
Zimbabwe’s defence force should not be above press scrutiny, particularly when senior military officers are implicated in allegations of public sector corruption involving taxpayers’ funds.They must be barred from spying on journalists to uncover the identity of their confidential sources.The NewsHawks said following the publication of the article, its news editor and reporters were threatened and intimidated, including through physical surveillance and call monitoring to identify their sources. Said Muleya:
There was pressure from all over…so we had to decide to stop following up this story. There’s no point in endangering the lives of reporters in pursuit of a story.The CPJ reported that its texts and emails to presidential spokesperson George Charamba and ZNA spokesperson Colonel Alphios Makotore requesting comment on the case did not receive any replies.

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