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deplores renewed onslaught against journalists
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
June 30, 2011
for Human Rights (ZLHR) deplores the unbecoming behaviour and conduct
of the police in arresting
two journalists working for the privately-run Standard newspaper.
Nevanji Madanhire, journalist Patience Nyangove and company representative
Loud Ramakgapola were arrested by the police on Wednesday 29 June
2011 and charged with criminal defamation for allegedly contravening
Section 96 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act and contravening Section 31
of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly
publishing false statements prejudicial to the State.
The arrest of
media practitioners does not only undermine the right to freedom
of expression of citizens but undermines the ability of media practitioners
to carry out their duties fearlessly.
that the arrest of the journalists has been instituted with the
only apparent aim of harassing journalists and has the potential
effect of intimidating journalists from investigating allegations
against the police and those who consider themselves to be untouchables
in the country.
ZLHR is increasingly
worried that those bent on silencing dissent continue to resort
to the use and abuse and find comfort in antiquated weapons such
as defamation laws. Such laws exist solely to brow beat media practitioners
from criticizing those who consider themselves immune from criticism.
of media personnel can only be considered as an attempt to block
and silence scrutiny from journalists ahead of elections as some
members of the coalition government are already in election mode.
The arrest of
Madanhire and Nyangove demonstrates that there still remain some
elements within the transitional coalition government who are dead
set against the overhaul of the media despite promises of reforms
at the formation of the coalition government two years ago. It also
underscores the urgent need to reform the security sector as enunciated
in the Global
Political Agreement as the sector continue to be a law unto
The police and
the coalition government should stop the harassment of journalists
and guarantee their safety in executing their professional duties.
is not something which Zimbabwe needs in its statutory books. There
exist enough remedies such as the Voluntary
Media Council of Zimbabwe, a body which can resolve any complaints
without instituting uncalled for criminal charges against journalists.
Visit the ZLHR
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