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Al Jazeera journalists detained in Zimbabwe

Al Jazeera journalists were assaulted and briefly detained in Zimbabwean while covering a cabinet meeting after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's boycott, Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday.

world Updated: Oct 22, 2009 23:04 IST

Al Jazeera journalists were assaulted and briefly detained in Zimbabwean while covering a cabinet meeting after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's boycott, Reporters Without Borders said on Thursday.

According to the global media freedom organisation, cameraman Austin Gundani and reporter Haru Mutasa were assaulted and held for three hours, on October 20 while working outside parliament.

"Gundani had been filming the arrival of Zimbabwean ministers at the offices of President Mugabe when he was brutally arrested," the organisation said in a statement.

"The two journalists were then locked up in a cell and interrogated."

Thembisa Fakude, Al Jazeera executive director in Johannesburg confirmed the detentions and said it was not the first time that their reporters had been arrested in Zimbabwe.

"They were detained for a while and later released. But this was the first arrest since the formation of the unity government," said Fakude.

In past years Zimbabwe imposed relax harsh media laws that saw local newspapers shut down and journalists and editors jailed.

The new government has promised to relax the laws and invite the international media back.