Panafrican News Agency

RSF denounces arrest of investigation journalist in Zimbabwe

Paris, France (PANA) - Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) Wednesday denounced the arrest Monday in Harare of Hopewell Chin'ono, a Zimbabwean investigative journalist and winner of the CNN prize of African Journalist of the Year 2008, and called for his release.

It said the arrest was the last act of a series of worrying breaches of the freedom to inform.

"Police undertook the arrest of the journalist by breaking into his domicile and in large number as if he were dangerous criminal.

“The choice of the brutal method and arrests that only aim to silence dissident voices sadly reminds the suppression of media and journalists under the dictatorship of Robert Mugabe,” RSF said in a statement sent to PANA here.

Chin'ono, also a reporter and film director and one of the well-known journalists of the country, was arrested Monday in his house in Harare by several policemen.

Police arrested the journalist for “encouragement to violence” and "troubles to public order", accusations linked to several of his publications on Twitter.

In the said publications, Chin'ono revealed a project of demonstration against the corruption of the regime, organised by an opponent and was arrested on 20 July.

“The detention of that figure of the Zimbabwean journalist is the last signal, undoubtedly the most worrying, of a resurgence of attacks against the freedom to inform and the journalist must be released,” said RSF.

It added that Chin'ono, fervent critic of President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his government, had recently contributed to revelations on the award of a contract by the authorities, including overcharging on the material bought to fight against the COVID-19.

The scandal, which is estimated at more than 50 million Euros, ended with the arrest of the minister of Health.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic in Zimbabwe, at least ten journalists have been arbitrarily arrested while four others have been attacked by the security forces, often on the simple pretext that they did not have an updated press card, the NGO said.


-0-      PANA      BM/TBM/MSA/RA   22Jul2020