ZIMBABWE has registered a drop in the international press freedom index, sliding from 124 to 128 between 2016 and 2017.
Released a day before the commemoration of the International World Press Freedom Day, the world press freedom index shows that the press in Zimbabwe has had no joy despite constitutional provisions guaranteeing its liberty.
According to the 2017 World Press Freedom ranking compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Zimbabwe’s score went up from 40.41 last year by 1.03 in 2017, out of 180 countries graded.
“Although the Constitution was amended in 2013, Zimbabwe’s media legislation has not evolved and continues to be very oppressive,” says RSF.
Given the country’s poor track record on the media reforms, it is still ranked alongside with some of the world’s most hostile countries such as Philippines (127), Colombia (129) and Cameroon (130).
The report further states that Zimbabwe provides for heavy sentences for coverage of protests, governmental corruption, unemployment or poverty, and the authorities still often target journalists.
“There were many cases of journalists being harassed, arrested, convicted, or physically attacked during a wave of protests in 2016.
“Foreign reporters are also targeted. Two of them were expelled in July 2016 despite having accreditation,” the RSF noted.
The World Press Freedom Index is compiled every year and evaluates the level of freedom available to the media in 180 countries.
On the global scene, RSF said eight journalists have been killed across the world in 2017, while 193 are currently imprisoned.