Last weekend’s NEC received a very disturbing report from Foster Dongozi the General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) who has been in the UK and Ireland, touring newsrooms explaining recent developments affecting journalists and promoting the call for human rights in Zimbabwe and the importance of an independent media in the country.In November the International Federation of Journalists condemned the arrest and detention by police in Zimbabwe of Dumisani Sibanda, the President of the ZUJ and called for his immediate release, saying that the action was the latest in a series of hostile incidents that were putting the country’s journalists increasingly at risk.
Thanking the NUJ for their strong support, Foster explained that journalists feared a fresh crackdown on their activities. He was also concerned that in discussions about a new constitution it was being proposed that any criticism of the President should be a capital offence. He reminded us that many of the reforms promised at the time the coalition government was set up, had still not been implemented.
The NUJ is proud of its close links with the ZUJ and we are currently waiting to hear the outcome of a bid made to the Department for International Development (DFID) for a four year project promoting media freedom in Zimbabwe. The result is expected in March 2011.