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Photojournalist James Jemwa gets new camera from MISA Zimbabwe

Mr. Golden Maunganidze (R) hands over a camera to Mr. James Jemwa

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe on Friday last week handed over a camera to photojournalist Mr. James Jemwa as a replacement for the one he lost in January 2022 whilst he was covering an opposition rally in Dzivarasekwa.

The camera that was handed over to Mr. James Jemwa was in response to the unfortunate situation mainly arising from two major events.

“In 2020, journalists were attacked while covering the Impala Car Rental issue. Many journalists were attacked and many lost cameras including James Jemwa. In January of 2022, Jemwa was attacked again while covering a protest in Dzivarasekwa leading to the loss of his second camera. Given these challenges that had befallen him, we partnered with Free Press Unlimited to secure his camera and ensure that he continues doing his craft. Journalism has increasingly been under attack in Zimbabwe. In 2020, we had 52 cases of journalists who were attacked, arrested, and harassed while doing their work. The number was triggered by the impact of regulations around the handling of COVID-19 wherein for the first time, journalism was not classified as a special service in the response to COVID-19.

 

“In 2021, the number reduced drastically but was still high at 22 cases. This was mainly because of our engagement with the police who are the main perpetrators through our police media action plan that we have. The action plan is between the media industry and the police to mitigate attacks on journalists. We have already recorded 13 cases in 2022. This is a key cause for concern but this is not isolated to Zimbabwe alone. The Reporters Without Borders report of 2022 shows that SADC is in retreat in terms of the performance of the media. In 2022, only Zambia, Malawi, and Namibia recorded an up-streak type of development. In 2020, only one SADC country – Zambia, was left with a positive ranking. The rest, including South Africa, fell to the margins. That shows that journalism is increasingly under attack,” said Mr. Tabani Moyo, the Director of MISA Zimbabwe.

Mr. Jemwa told Spiked Online Media that he sustained a broken arm during the Dzivarasekwa attack and was assisted by MISA Zimbabwe to sustain himself after the incident.

 

“My family suffered because I had lost my tools of the trade. My wife and children depend on me for food, rentals, and education. In the first incident in 2020 at the Impala car rental incident, I reported the matter but nothing happened. We tried to get recourse through the legal system but it yielded nothing. We have all given up on the matter. I thank MISA Zimbabwe and their partners, Free Press Unlimited, for buying me a new camera. That means, I am now back on my feet and will be able to meet my needs and sharpen my professional skills,” Mr. Jemwa said.

MISA Zimbabwe Chairperson, Mr. Golden Maunganidze indicated that when a journalist’s tools of work are broken, it is not just an attack on the individual journalist but also on their family and friends who depend on these gadgets which they use for work.
“Our gesture, although it may seem small, is very big in that it reflects why we exist as an organisation. I want to thank the MISA Zimbabwe Secretariat for sourcing the camera so that Mr. Jemwa goes back to his work. The police should know that journalism is not a crime and they should respect them while they are doing their work. We hope to come up with a media police caravan intervention so that the police understand the role of the media in covering events and programmes like elections,” Mr. Maunganidze said.

 

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende