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Zimbabwe First Lady Blocking Journalists from Covering Her Events

President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife, Auxillia.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa and his wife, Auxillia.

WASHINGTON - The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says Zimbabwe’s First Lady should not stop media practitioners from covering her events like what happened a few days ago when her handlers blocked reporters from taking photos while she was participating in a state function.

In a statement, CPJ said it was worrying that Mrs. Auxillia Mnangagwa is barring some journalists from covering her events.

According to the Media Institute of Southern Africa, some of her security aides recently barred five journalists from covering her visit to the Museum of African Liberation in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

MISA also reported that on the following day, some members of her security staff and Mnangagwa’s spokesperson blocked another journalist from photographing a separate event.

CPJ says the country’s leaders should ensure that reporters have access to the First Lady.

Some state officials have been quoted as saying Mrs. Mnangagwa is entitled to her privacy.

Nqaba Matshazi of the Media Institute of Southern Africa told VOA Zimbabwe Service that they are engaging the government over this issue in “order to ensure that all journalists have access to state officials and the First Lady.’

Today is World Press Freedom Day amid reports that there were a few incidents of violence against journalists in Zimbabwe this year compared to last year.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the media situation in Zimbabwe has improved slightly since the late President Robert Mugabe’s ouster in 2017 and access to information has increased and self-censorship declined.

Reporters Without Borders said in a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day that the media landscape in Zimbabwe is exhibiting an encouraging increase in diversity but remains dominated by state-controlled media.