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Media Monitoring Project condemns assault on journalists

(MISA/IFEX) - According to the Media Monitoring Project in Zimbabwe (MMPZ), members of the Zimbabwe National Army severely assaulted four journalists in Dzivaresekwa on 18 October 2000.

The four, who were stopped by soldiers in armoured cars, were dragged from their vehicle by a group of up to a dozen soldiers, forced to lie on the ground and were kicked and severely beaten with wire whips and batons. The beatings stopped only after the soldiers had seized film footage taken by the journalists of the victims of earlier beatings. The injured journalists were taken to the Avenues Clinic
and the Trauma Centre. They included Zimbabweans Peter Maringisanwa and Vincent Murwira, representing South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) television, Chris Mazivananga, a cameraman for the Associated Press (AP), and photographer Rob Cooper, also from AP.

The MMPZ condemned outright what it called an "unprovoked attack on journalists operating in difficult conditions". It called on the authorities to investigate the incident.

"MMPZ deplores the violent intimidation of journalists attempting to report the events occurring in Harare's suburbs and demands that the authorities ensure that the state security forces afford journalists covering these events the freedom to carry out their professional duties unhindered," the organisation said in a statement.

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