New York, August 21, 2003—Earlier this month, a group of young men brutally assaulted Flata Kavinga, a reporter for Zimbabwe’s English-language weekly The Midlands Observer.
According to sources familiar with the incident, on August 8, six men—at least two of whom were members of Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF—approached the reporter outside a nightclub in Kwekwe, a city in the central part of the country. The men accused The Midlands Observer of supporting the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and said that Kavinga must be pro-MDC because his T-shirt bore the logo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) and read: “Free my voice—Free the airwaves.” After dragging Kavinga into an alley behind the club, the assailants attacked the journalist, beating him relentlessly with planks of wood.
Kavinga’s friends later brought him to a hospital. He has now been discharged, but is seeking further medical attention for head injuries sustained during the attack.
Kavinga’s colleagues told the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that the reporter has gone into hiding to avoid further reprisal.