Our exiled friends at home
THE NEWLY-formed Association of Zimbabwean Journalists in the UK has announced a 1000 annual award to be given to a courageous Zimbabwean journalist, in memory of the late Standard Editor, Mark Chavhunduka, who was arrested and tortured after publishing a controversial story about a coup attempt by Zimbabwe's military in 1999. The award is sponsored in part by John Owen, a City University lecturer, former Freedom Forum director and Marks friend.
The Association aims to represent members' interests, giving them a place to discuss and to act on the difficulties facing them - which include lack of educational opportunities and the difficulty of continuing with their professional work in exile.
The association wants to work with local universities, colleges and media in the UK to secure educational and internship opportunities for its members, and dedicate some of its efforts to the defence of journalists in Zimbabwe and the promotion of media freedoms. It also aims to conduct research and facilitate dialogue on Zimbabwe, and will create a database of all its members and help them get opportunities to continue to write in a largely difficult environment.
These journalists should have a chance to comment authoritatively on issues their country, especially given the way the Zimbabwean crisis has been reported in the international media. They also want to find ways to help struggling colleagues back in Zimbabwe where newspapers such as the independent Daily News have been closed down by the government.
- London Freelance Branch voted at the March meeting to help the Association organise a fringe meeting at the union's annual conference.
- The Freelance was expecting a piece from member Jacques Habib arguing against such single-country groups: we'll link it from here when it arrives.