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Journalists' criminal defamation case postponed
MISA-Zimbabwe
May 10, 2010

http://www.misazim.co.zw/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=684&Itemid=1

Harare magistrate Olivia Mariga on 6 May 2010 postponed to 26 May 2010 the case in which five journalists are state witnesses in the trial of Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda and eight councillors on allegations of criminally defaming businessman Philip Chiyangwa. The postponement came after the mayor and councillors filed an application to the High Court challenging their placement on remand.

Freelance journalist Stanley Gama who was subpoenaed as a state witness together with four other journalists namely Vincent Kahiya the Zimbabwe Independent editor- in- chief, the Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporters Feluna Nleya and Jennifer Dube also appeared in court on 6 May 2010.

Background

This criminal defamation suit stems from the story that was published in The Sunday Times and the Standard's weekly's edition of 28 March to 3 April 2010.

The story revealed that a special Harare council committee investigating the allocation of land had recommended that Chiyangwa should be arrested for alleged corruption.

The story was based on a 54-page report titled: Special Investigations Committees report on City of Harare's Land Sales, Leases and Exchanges from the period October 2004 to December 2009.

The state alleges that the mayor and the councillors defamed Chiyangwa by leaking the report whose contents were published by the Standard and The Sunday Times of South Africa before it was debated by the full council.

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