By Nomalanga Moyo
4 March 2013
A sports reporter with the privately-owned Daily News newspaper was barred from covering a charity soccer match between army side Black Rhinos and CAPS United on Sunday.
Blessings Mashaya, who is accredited with the statutory body the Zimbabwe Media Commission, confirmed to SW Radio that military police stopped him from entering Rufaro stadium in Harare.
The soldiers reportedly told Mashaya that since it was only a charity match they were playing, they did not require media coverage, especially from Daily News.
“We want to make money and to make things worse, you are from the Daily News so it’s better for you to go back. You are not permitted to cover this match,” said one of the soldiers, according to a statement issued by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA).
However, reports in other sections of the Zimbabwean media suggest that some reporters were allowed to cover the match.
Nyasha Nyakunu, a spokesperson for media watchdog MISA, condemned the actions by the army. He said that it was the duty of journalists to cover events in the public domain without being intimidated.
“As MISA-Zimbabwe we would like to urge the Zimbabwe Media Commission, which is tasked with defending media freedom and freedom of expression, to look into the issue,” Nyakunu added.