Media groups slam First Lady’s attack on journos

MEDIA groups yesterday called on First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa to rein in her security details after they barred journalists from NewsDay and other private media houses from covering her event early this week.

The journalists were barred from an event where Auxillia was commissioning a clinic at the Marondera Female Open Prison on Tuesday.

Only journalists from the State media were allowed in.

Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) co-ordinator Njabulo Ncube urged the First Lady to crack the whip on her gatekeepers in the spirit of Press freedom.

“We appeal to the First Lady to rein in her overzealous officers who appear content in perpetuating the media hangmen tag of the previous republic. It is our prayer and hope that the First Lady is not privy to the shenanigans of the gatekeepers around her,” Ncube said.

“What is disheartening is that this is not the first time that private media has been barred from covering activities of the First Lady. It then begs the question: Is the second republic sincere in rolling out wide sweeping media reforms or it’s applying lipstick to a frog.”

In a statement, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said journalists should be allowed to cover events regardless of where they work.

”Journalists should always be allowed to cover public events without any hindrance and regardless of the publications they work for as this enhances citizens’ right to access to information,” Misa said.

Zimbabwe Online Content Creators chairperson Toneo Rutsito cited a number of events where private media journalists were barred from Auxillia’s events.

“We note with concern that there has been a growing trend of accredited personnel being blocked from covering events officiated by the First Lady. What is more concerning is that the officials often unleash State security agents to force online content creators out of any proximity to the First Lady’s functions,” Rutsito said. Newsday

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