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Zimbabwe Journalists Petition PM Tsvangirai Over Continued Arrests, Harassment

The petitioners told VOA that they had been assured by Mr. Tsvangirai that a council of ministers that he leads will look into their grievances

Zimbabwean journalists on Friday petitioned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the inclusive government demanding a stop to continued arrests and harassement of reporters in the country.

The petition, signed by more than 100 newsmen, urged government to guarantee press freedom and stop the harassment, intimidation and illegal detention of journalists.

Prepared by the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, the petition was copied to South African President and SADC mediator in Zimbabwe, Jacob Zuma, who was in Harare this week for talks with the three coalition government principals.

There has been an upsurge in the number of journalists being arrested in the past few months, with the latest incident involving Nqobani Ndlovu of the weekly Standard newspaper who was released Friday after spending more than a week in custody.

Police have also issued a warrant of arrest for the United Kingdom-based editor of the Zimbabwean, Wilf Mbanga, in connection with a story he allegedly ran in 2008.

Two other journalists Andrison Manyere and Nkosi Dhlamini were also arrested in October while covering constitutional outreach meetings.

MISA-Zimbabwe advocacy chairman, Kumbirai Mafunda, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that Mr. Tsvangirai promised the journalists that his Council of Ministers will look into their grievances.