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Police raid Radio Dialogue, production manager to appear in court
March 04, 2013
the production manager of Radio
Dialogue, a community radio station based in Zimbabwe's
second city of Bulawayo, is expected to appear in court on Monday,
4 March 2013 charged with possession of smuggled radios in contravention
of Section 182 of the Customs and Excise Act.
At the time
of issuing this alert, Ndebele (@zenzele), had just tweeted that
he is still waiting at the police station and had been told earlier
on that police were waiting for a customs official to arrive, ostensibly
to deal with the smuggling allegation.
On Friday, 1
March 2013 police in Bulawayo raided
and confiscated 180 radio sets from Radio Dialogue and subsequently
questioned and detained Ndebele before releasing him.
Kucaca Phulu, said Ndebele had also been slapped with a further
charge of possession of a radio receiver without a valid Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) licence in contravention of Section
38 of the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA).
The swoop on
Radio Dialogue follows the police's 19 February 2013 ban
on the possession of "specially designed radios" and
other communication devices. The suspicion is that such equipment
is being used to communicate hate speech ahead of Zimbabwe's
referendum and general elections.
At the time
of the ban, police spokesperson, Assistant Commissioner Charity
Charamba, told a news conference in Harare that possession and distribution
of the devices in question was illegal.
some political parties of distributing the 'illegal devices'
to unsuspecting members of the public with the intention "to
sow seeds of disharmony within the country especially now that the
country is about to embark on the referendum and harmonised elections".
Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
reiterates its earlier assertions that Section 38B of the Broadcasting
Services Act does not ban the possession of shortwave radio receivers.
The police's ban can therefore only be aimed at curbing citizens'
rights to access alternative information, ideas and opinions ahead
of the referendum and harmonised elections.
await with keen interest the court's findings and ruling following
the ban of possession of shortwave radio receivers and the appearance
of Ndebele in court. The court proceedings and findings in this
matter will greatly assist in bringing finality on this very contentious
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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