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Complaints report: 2012
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe
December 19, 2012

Parties Complaint Status
Tarisai Gashu vs the Standard
(7 January 2012)
  • Ms Tarisai Gashu lodged a complaint with the VMCZ over a story published in the Standard of 1-7 January 2012 entitled," Health experts warning on sanitary pads."
  • Ms Gashu alleges that her name was used in the story yet the reporter never interviewed her.
  • Ms Gashu says she is a health worker and the publication of the story has affected her at her workplace. She says the story has also affected her marriage.
  • Ms Gashu wants the reporter who wrote the story to prove which Tarisai Gashu she interviewed.
Status: Finalised

The MCC after giving careful consideration to the submissions raised by Ms Gashu ruled that there was no breach of the Media Code of Conduct on the part of The Standard. The MCC however instructed The Standard newspaper to carry a clarification in its edition, with a picture of Gashu, putting the record straight. The MCC said The Standard should clarify that she is not the Tarisai Gashu who was interviewed and reported on in the paper's edition of 1-7 January 2012.


Doctor Mauchaza vs The Herald and The Daily News
(3 January 2012)
  • Doctor Katherine Mauchaza launched a complaint with the VMCZ over a story published by the Daily News of 3 January 2012 entitled, "Doctor in the Doc for destroying sister's property"
  • The article alleged that Doctor Mauchaza ran amok and destroyed her sister-in- law's property following an altercation over title deeds.
  • Dr Mauchaza complained that the article made unfounded and malicious allegations about her, which allegations were meant to tarnish her professional reputation as a doctor.
  • Doctor Mauchaza in her complaint says the matter was brought before the courts and she was acquitted but The Daily News and The Herald did not carry the acquittal story.
  • Dr Mauchaza says she wants both the Daily News and The Herald to publish the story of her acquittal as the original story reported was affecting her return to the United Kingdom where she is based.

Status: Resolved

The MCC after due deliberations engaged both the Herald and The Daily News who both published the acquittal stories in their editions of 31 January 2012 (Daily News) headlined, "Harare doctor acquitted of malicious damage to property charges". The Herald also carried a story of the acquittal after the MCC contacted the paper.

Cllr Demo vs The Chronicle
(21 January 2012)
  • Mr Taurai Demo filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled, "Soldier commits suicide over wife's infidelity which appeared in the Chronicle of 21 January 2012.
  • Mr. Demo alleges that the story is false as he never had any extra marital affair with Mr Chitsiko's wife. Demo wants the Chronicle to publish an apology as the story is completely false.
  • Mr Demo feels that the Newspaper contravened section 4b of the Media Code of Conduct for Media Practitioners.
  • Section (4b) of the Media code of conduct states that, "Media practitioners and media institutions must never publish information that they know to be false or maliciously make unfounded allegations about others that are intended to harm their reputation".
Status: Finalised

The committee reviewed the matter and the complainant agreed to engage then editor of the Chronicle, Mr Innocent Gore, over the story. Mr Gore indicated to the MCC that he was ready to engage.

Morris Mutema vs Newsday
(17 January 2012)
  • Morris Mutema, the acting Kwekwe city treasurer, lodged a complaint with the VMCZ over an article published in the Newsday of 17 January 2012 entitled "Audit report confirms looting of funds".
  • Mr Mutema is aggrieved as he claims the story is entirely false and that he was not contacted to comment on the story.
  • He wants NewsDay to publish a retraction of the story.
Status :Finalised

The MCC in its judgment after inviting both parties to give their side of the story ruled that the published story was not balanced since it did not mention that the audit report had not been finalised. The committee also noted that Mr Mutema was not contacted to comment on the contents of the audit report. The MCC stated that Newsday should engage with Mr Mutema and find a solution that will allow Mr Mutema to give his side of the story.

Ishmael Mafundike vs the Herald
(1 May 2012)
  • Mafundike filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled," Ethanol plant to lay off 4500, published in the Herald of 1 May 2012.
  • Mafundike alleges that the story was entirely false as the plant located in Chisumbanje does not have the stated number of farm workers and allegations made in the story were therefore false. Mr Mafundike wants the Herald to publish a retraction as the story
Status: Finalised

The complainant in the matter Mr Mafundike indicated that he would instead engage the newspaper on the matter first and will revert to the VMCZ if his engagement with the newspaper fail.

Stanford Zhou vs The Sunday Mail
(6 May 2012)
  • Stanford Zhou filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled, "Agony of maintaining someone's child ", published in the Sunday Mail of 6 May 2012.
  • Zhou says the Sunday Mail used a picture of him in a story which does not relate to him thus tarnishing his name.
  • Zhou says the story has caused unnecessary friction between him and his wife resulting in their separation.
  • Zhou is seeking guidance from VMCZ.
Status: Finalised
  • The matter was referred to the Sunday Mail and Mr Zhou met with the Sunday Mail team and the paper offered to do an apology.
  • However Mr Zhou indicated that he did not only want an apology but wanted monetary compensation.
  • VMCZ however does not deal with matters involving financial compensation and advised Mr Zhou accordingly.
Lucky Tshuma vs B-Metro
(24 May 2012)
  • Lucky Shuma, a freelance photojournalist filed a complaint claiming that B Metro newspaper allegedly used one of his pictures without his permission.
  • Tshuma says the practice by the newspaper is unethical and accused the paper of infringing copywrite laws and wants the paper to acknowledge his picture and pay for its use.
Status: Finalised

The MCC in arriving at a decision found that there was no clear proof of ownership of the picture as both parties claimed ownership of the picture. The committee however noted that the picture was posted on the social network platform by Mr. Tshuma. The committee felt that any material posted on Facebook was difficult to keep track of as users copy and make numerous copies of pictures. In the circumstances the committee advised Mr Tshuma to protect his works

Alistair MacNeilage vs Techzim
(22 August 2012)
  • Mr Alistair McNailage filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled, "Two Econet Facebook pages, one of them is Fake" published on Techzim website www.techzim.co.zw on 22 August 2012.
  • Mr McNailage is aggrieved as he says the article published by Techzim is false and says the allegations on Communication Twenty Four Seven are baseless.
  • Mr McNailage says the statements made in the article are damaging to the company's reputation.
  • He also complains that Techzim never made any effort to investigate the matter and the article was based on wrong assumptions. McNeilage says they were not given a right of reply in the story.
Status: Finalised

The MCC after hearing from both parties ruled that TechZim should give a right of reply to Mr McNeilage. The MCC said TechZim should publish a story giving Mr McNeilage a chance to respond to the published article.
Status: Finalised

After engaging the Daily news on the matter the newspaper published a story clarifying that the George Sande who lodged a complaint with the VMCZ is not the same as the one referred to in the story published by the Daily News.

George Sande vs Daily News
(24 August 2012
  • Goerge Sande lodged a complaint with the VMCZ over an article published in the Daily News of 24 August 2012 headlined "Man Pees in Pots".
  • Mr Sande is complaining that the Daily News reported that a man called Goerge Sande was taken to the civil court by his wife for urinating in the household pots.
  • Mr Sande is aggrieved as he says he also bears the name Goerge Sande and he is not the Goerge Sande mentioned in the story. He also says he is not related to the Sande mentioned in the story.
  • Mr Sande says the press should have given the age, place were the offence was committed and the residence of the culprit so as to distinguish the real person.
  • Mr Sande says he is a highly respected individual and the publication of the story has resulted in him being the talk of the town.
Status: Finalised

After engaging the Daily news on the matter the newspaper published a story clarifying that the George Sande who lodged a complaint with the VMCZ is not the same as the one referred to in the story published by the Daily News.

Tafara Chikumira vs Radio VOP

(18 January 2012)

  • Tafara Chikumira launched a complaint with the VMCZ over a story published by Radio VOP on 8 November 2012 entitled "ZBC reporter part of ZANU PF violence".
  • The article insinuated that Mr Chikumira was associated with a group named Chipangano which was involved in political violence.
  • Chikumira complained that allegations that he took part in the violence are false and malicious to him
Status :Finalised
  • The MCC after due deliberations determined that they was no breach of the Media Code of Conduct on the part of Radio VOP as the online publication wrote the story based on an statement citing a political party (MDC).
  • The MCC however ruled that Radio VOP should carry a story outlining that Mr Chikumira appeared before the MCC and denied allegations that that he was part of Chipangano.
Morris Mutema vs Newsday
(13 November 2012)
  • Mr Mutema filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled, "Heads to roll at Kwekwe Council- Chombo", published in the Newsday of 13 November 2012.
  • Mr Mutema, who is the Kwekwe acting city treasurer, feels that the headline is misleading as it implies that Chombo made a direct comment on the story when in fact he is not even quoted in the story.
  • Mr Mutema says the story is false as it alleges that a special audit report was handed to the local authority yet there is no such report.
  • Mr Mutema is also disputing claims that there is a press embargo which bars council officials from speaking to the press. Mr Mutema says he is not aware of the press embargo.
Status: Finalised
  • The Media Complaints Committee, invited both parties to a hearing on the matter. After hearing from both parties, the MCC ruled that Mr Mutema's complaint was misplaced as a special audit report was produced by the Ministry contrary to his claims that there was none.
  • The MCC ruled that Newsday should avail a copy of the Audit report to Mr Mutema for him to go over and afford him an opportunity to respond to the audit report.
  • The MCC also ruled that Newsday should make a follow up on the allegations raised by Mr Mutema. Mr Mutema alleged that Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, wrote to the council disassociating himself from the special audit report in question.
  • The Committee advised Newsday to look into the issue and investigate.
Johnson Masawi vs Newsday
(27 April 2012)
  • Mr. Johnson Masawi launched a complaint with the VMCZ over a story published in the Newsday of April 27 2012 entitled, "Workers at Masawi Farm offered $13 wages".
  • Mr Masawi alleges that the story is false as their farm workers were not being paid the amount stated in the newspaper.
  • Mr Masawi wants Newsday to publish an apology as the story was false and meant to tarnish the image of his family.
Status: Resolved

The matter was referred back to Newsday newspaper where the paper and the complaint amicably resolved the matter.


Ali Johnson Mukuku vs H-Metro
(13 November 2012)
  • Mr Ali Johnson Mukuku filed a complaint with the VMCZ over an article entitled, "Zimbabwe charity home turns into a maximum prison" which he indicates appeared in the H. Metro of 10 December 2010.
  • Mr Mikuku who is an official at a charity home named Fatima Zahra centre says the article has contains false statements about the charity home.
  • The article implies that there is extreme child abuse at the charity home. However Mr Mukuku says the allegations are false and are damaging to the image of the donor funded charity home.
  • Mr Mukuku wants H-Metro to retract the whole story as donors are citing the story to deny the centre funding.
Status: Finalised

The MCC reviewed the case and established that the story was published in 2009 instead of 2010. The MCC conceded that the time frame was not within the committees jurisdiction.

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