Zimbabwe commemorates International Day to End impunity for Crimes against Journalists

Zimbabwe media stakeholders commemorated the International Day to End impunity for Crimes against Journalists (IDEI) on 2 November 2021 at an event held in Harare under the theme: “Countering threats of violence & crimes against journalists to protect freedom & expression for all”.

The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa said the government was making efforts to create a conducive working environment for journalists.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Zimbabwean Government does not condone any acts of violence against journalists and encouraged the media practitioners to use official existing channels to report on any issues of violence against journalists.

UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, Advisor for Communication and Information Al Amin Yusuph presented the UNESCO Director General, Audrey Azoulay’s message which emphasized the important role of the media of speaking truth to power.

In that message, the Director General bemoaned lack of prosecution of those who perpetrate crimes against journalists in many countries.

The message called on State Parties to protect journalists and to ensure that the perpetrators of crimes against them are punished. It noted that judges and prosecutors in particular have an important role to play in promoting swift and effective criminal proceedings.

To this end, in recent years, UNESCO has trained nearly 23,000 judicial officials, including judges, prosecutors and lawyers. The trainings covered international standards related to freedom of expression and the safety of journalists and placed particular focus on issues of impunity.

Mr Yusuph said in Southern Africa through the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), UNESCO ROSA trained judiciary members from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Eswarini and Mozambique. In addition to this, UNESCO is to conduct another judicial training under the capacity building of Judges Initiative Programme in Addis Ababa early December 2021.

Speaking at the same event the European Union (EU) Head of Political Section, Lourdes Chamorro highlighted some gender issues in the media. She noted that more than 70% of female journalists had experienced some kind of online violence and as a response, in September 2021, the EU published recommendations against online and offline violence for their region”.

Government officials, members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police represented by the ZRP Assistant Commissioner Paul Nyathi, media stakeholders including the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Zimbabwe Media Alliance (ZMA), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), and other media organisations as well as journalists from different media houses attended the IDEI national celebrations.

The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is commemorated every year on 2 November. This year, the #EndImpunity campaign is highlighting some of the specific risks which journalists face in their quest to uncover the truth.


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