ZIMBABWE – CNN journalist, Robyn Curnow and her cameraperson, Shevan Rayson were stopped from filming and briefly detained by overzealous police officers while filming along Harare’s First Street.
The CNN crew was accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission and had permission to work from the Ministry of Information. The experienced CNN cameraperson discreetly recorded the whole episode, 17 minutes of footage.
Sensing the potential impact of the fall-out of the arrest, Charamba moved fast to douse the fires by summoning the crew to Munhumutapa Building and apologising. He reportedly pleaded with the journalists to can the story until after the summit at least. Press freedom groups rounded on the authorities for unnecessary high-handedness.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Foster Dongozi said: “We call the GNU to increase its level of tolerance on journalists at work. The government’s acceptance of democracy will be measured on levels of tolerance on the media. ZUJ strongly condemns what happened to the CNN crew,” Dongozi said.
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) said in a statement the detention of the CNN crew was a serious matter and urged police to allow journalists to do their job. The constitution makes the right of the Zimbabwean public and all media professionals to receive and impart information a fundamental human right and not a privilege.”