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IFJ Condemns Assault, Detention of Cameraman in Zimbabwe

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the beating and detention of a tv cameraman by police officers in Zimbabwe.

On Wednesday, 13 September, Mike Saburi, a cameraman with Reuters Television, was assaulted by police officers and jailed after he filmed the police beating people involved in a banned trade union march in the capital city of Harare.

“We strongly condemn this brutal assault on Mike Saburi and we call for his immediate and unconditional release,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “Even though the government had forbidden this demonstration, it was still a newsworthy event. Banning media coverage and trampling on press freedom will not solve any of the problems in Zimbabwe.”

Saburi was filming the police beating people when he was assaulted and arrested along with some others, said Foster Dongozi, General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ).

“According to his lawyer, who is the only person authorised to have access to the arrested, Mike is accused of having gone beyond his journalistic work while filming the march,” Dongozi told the IFJ.

According to an SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe report, during the assault Saburi tried to show police his accreditation card but they kept beating him and then put him in a police vehicle.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called demonstrations in urban centres to protest against poor wages and high taxes and to demand that workers have access to anti-retroviral drugs to combat rampant HIV/AIDS. The main ZCTU leaders have been arrested.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.