Journalists in Zimbabwe harassed over corruption story

Owen Gagare

The Southern African Editors Forum (SAEF) has condemned the alleged harassment of journalists from NewsHawks, an online investigative newspaper, over a story involving Zimbabwean military generals.

According to a press statement by SAEF on Tuesday, NewsHawks has been forced to freeze a corruption story involving three army generals in that country’s defence force.

The publication claims it was forced to halt the investigation and remove reporters from the story to secure their safety and well-being.

This follows alleged surveillance of journalists, particularly news editor Owen Gagare, mirroring similar threats faced by another reporter over an earlier critical piece.

“Self-censorship and silence are not an option in investigative journalism. Unfortunately, we are forced to make some strategic decisions, at least for the time being,” said Gagare.

SAEF secretary general Joseph Ailonga said SAEF supports measures taken by NewsHawks.

“We totally agree and support measures taken by NewsHawks, however, the Zimbabwean government, as a United Nations (UN) member state, is bound by treaties that advocate for the safety of journalists,” said Ailonga.

He urged president Emmerson Mnangagwa to intervene and order intelligence to stop hounding journalists.

“No one is above the law, not even intelligence that purports to protect the sovereignty of a country. Corruption is corruption and should not be entertained,” said Ailonga.

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