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The NewsHawks Freezes Exclusive Military Story Due To Threats From State Security Agents

1 month agoWed, 21 Feb 2024 05:55:33 GMT
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The NewsHawks Freezes Exclusive Military Story Due To Threats From State Security Agents

Online news publication, The NewsHawks, said they will not publish follow-up stories on the issue of three Zimbabwean army generals forced out due to corruption issues following subtle threats and direct pressure from state security agents.

On 12 February, The NewsHawks reported that the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) had sacked three senior military commanders at the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) over a multi-million-dollar hard currency housing corruption scandal.

Citing high-level sources, The NewsHawks reported that the ZNA commander Lieutenant-General Anselem Sanyatwe recently dismissed three commanders namely ZNA chief-of-staff (quartermaster) Major-General Hlanganani Dube, Major-General Paul Chima (ZDF inspector-general) and Major-General John Mupande, the director-general of policy, public relations and international affairs at the ministry of Defence.

In an editorial on Tuesday, 20 February, the publication said since last week, the military has held several meetings to deal with the exclusive coverage of the story which culminated in the issuing of a statement, saying the matter is currently under investigation. It reads in part:

After that, The NewsHawks was informed by top Defence House impeccable sources the issue has raised serious concerns and alerts in terms of the gravity of the substance and sourcing. Security is investigating the journalists who covered the story: the bottom line is the military wants to know the sources of the story.

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As a result, The NewsHawks journalists have now been put under surveillance, especially News Editor Owen Gagare, in a move which has a chilling effect on media freedom and journalism practice.

In order to protect the safety and wellbeing of reporters, The NewsHawks has now removed its reporters from the story with immediate effect and will not carry follow-ups, including the ones already processed for this week.

The stories will be pulled out of the latest edition coming out later today indefinitely.

Usually, The NewsHawks would dig in and persist undeterred, but given the clear and present danger to the safety of its reporters, the story has to be frozen. So it has been put on ice indefinitely.

As we say in journalism, in the final analysis, there is no story worth dying for!

However, courage in journalism is the refusal to be silenced. We are not being silenced, but forced to make some strategic decisions or choices to secure the safety of our reporters.

Self-censorship and silence are not an option in investigative journalism, yet necessary if only to ensure journalists’ safety and well-being, at least for the time being.

This has happened before as pointed out at the top and we handled the situation like this.

Previously, a NewsHawks senior journalist Bernard Mpofu was forced out of his stories and his home by state security agents who hunted him down to hound him out of the security beat of coverage.

He had written several stories, but what particularly invited problems for NewsHawks and him was President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s helicopter crash exclusive story in August 2021.

Mpofu was run out of town – literally – over the story and permanently left his home, amid contemplation to leave the country.

However, NewsHawks was forced to drop the story to secure his safety. Unfortunately, his sources were tracked down and removed from their posts amid internal punishment…

More: Pindula News

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