Zimbabwean authorities deported two Sky News journalists for entering the country without permission, a senior government official said, as the country faces a wave of anti-government protests.
They breached our laws and we kicked them out. You don’t enter a country without accreditation,” said George Charamba, a senior official in the Ministry of Information.
Charamba, who is also President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman, told AFP that their deportation should serve as a warning to foreign journalists who may attempt to sneak into the country without permits.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford and a cameraman, whose identity was not given, were arrested at a lodge in Harare on Wednesday.
The media watchdog said the two were travelling on British passports and were detained overnight at Harare international airport before their deportation Thursday morning.
“They were allegedly raided at a Harare lodge on the night of Wednesday 13 July, 2016 and detained at the Harare Airport overnight before being deported this morning,” MISA said in a statement.
Under Zimbabwe’s media laws, foreign journalists need accreditation before arriving in the country to work.
Over the years authorities have used the draconian legislation to arrest independent journalists, shut down newspapers and expel foreign correspondents.
Zimbabwe is experiencing rare demonstrations against the government of President Robert Mugabe in the wake of an economic crisis that has left banks short of cash and the government struggling to pay its workers.
Mugabe, 92, who is increasingly frail has been in power since 1980