Zambezi Times Online

Local Journalists Forge Alliance With Lawyers

HARARE, June 11 - A group of local journalists and lawyers has formed an organisation to defend press freedom and resist the current government onslaught against the media.

Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights (ZJHR) was set up to act as a watchdog on abuses against the media. ZJHR is legally registered and has a board of trustees. The organisation includes journalists from the banned Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, John Gambanga, Pedzisai Ruhanya, Precious Shumba and Luke Tamborinyoka.

It also includes journalists from other private newspapers such as Brian Mangwende of the Financial Gazette, Dumisani Muleya of the Zimbabwe Independent and Angela Makamure of the Standard.

University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and National Constitutional Assembly chair Lovemore Madhuku and Harrison Nkomo of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are also members.

ZJHR spokesman, Muleya, said the group would monitor abuses against journalists by political and corporate aggressors. He said there was need to find new ways to cope in the current hostile environment that journalists - both from private and public media - are locked in.

"Events over the past few years have shown that even if free-press journalists are the main target of repression, state-media journalists are also vulnerable to political pressure," Muleya said.

"The wholesale dismissal of journalists from ZBC and in some cases Zimpapers is clear evidence of the collective threat that we all face from political predators."

Muleya said ZJHR would work with groups such as the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe to consolidate journalistic structures in civic society to resist media tyranny.

"The history of state abuses against journalists and the media in Zimbabwe is long and well-documented. It spans the colonial and post-Independence era with varying degrees of intensity but basically the same effect," Muleya said.

"In the present viperous environment, journalists, like all other ordinary Zimbabweans, find themselves engaged in mortal combat for their fundamental rights," he said.

By Staff Writer
Source: Zimbabwe Independent / allAfrica Global Media

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