Media freedom in Zimbabwe has been on a downward spiral since the mid-90s. The Covid-19 health pandemic added another dimension to an already treacherous environment, consequently further restricting independent journalism and making it even more challenging for investigative journalists to do their work of exposing corruption by the state and their beneficiaries.
Zimbabwean journalist/filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono was initially arrested on July 20, 2020, for amplifying media reports on COVID-19 procurement fraud. Following several arrests and detentions the High Court in April 2021 quashed the charges of ‘communicating false information’, saying the law used by police to arrest him no longer existed.
Hopewell relates a story of intense censorship, oppression of independent journalism and an alarming disregard by state operators for the role of the media in society, and citizens’ rights to media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information.