BY BYRON MUTINGWENDE
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) has strongly condemned the recent abduction and murder of journalists on the African continent and equated the acts to brutal violation of media freedom.
In a statement of solidarity with the affected journalists at a press conference at the Quill Club in Harare on Monday, MAZ bemoaned the murder of journalists in Mozambique and South Sudan as well as the abduction of another one in Nigeria.
Delivering the statement on behalf of MAZ, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general, Foster Dongozi said the acts deserved outright condemnation.
“The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) strongly condemns the murder of Mozambican journalist Paulo
Machava who was assassinated in Maputo on August 28, 2015,” Dongozi said.
Machava was killed by armed men who shot him four times before speeding away. According to
Mozambican police, the motive of the brutal killing remains unclear and an inquest has been commissioned to conduct inquiries into the case.
The veteran journalist, renowned for his investigative journalism, joins a list of other media practitioners and human rights defenders who have been killed under bizarre circumstances in Mozambique after the likes of Carlos Cardosa who was murdered in that country in the year 2000.
Dongozi cited another incident in Nigeria whereby female journalist and columnist DonuKogbara was suspected to have been abducted on the 31st of August and has not been found since.
“It is in that light that MAZ demands that the Mozambican, Nigerian and South Sudanese governments institute comprehensive investigations into these cases in order to bring to book those behind these heinous acts of cowardice against free journalism enterprise.
“This call is predicated on the fact that these countries are members of regional and international bodies that have adopted instruments that clearly outline state obligations in safeguarding freedom of expression and the media and advance their citizens’ basic rights,” Dongozi said.
To that effect, MAZ called on Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) to strongly condemn such brutal violation of media freedom and send a clear message that failure by state parties to firmly act on such barbarism was antithetical to the letter and spirit of the bodies’ founding documents and efforts to promote dignified life for all regional citizens.
Direct of Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) NhlanhlaNghwenya said MAZ would petition the local embassies of the countries in question to investigate the cases and bring the perpetrators to account for their actions.