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VMCZ statement on the arrest of Zimbabwe Independent Editor and Chief Reporter
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe
May 07, 2013

The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) condemns the arrest of the editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Dumisani Muleya and the paper's chief reporter Owen Gagare by the Zimbabwe Republic Police for allegedly publishing falsehoods.

This arrest coming less than a week after Zimbabwe and the rest of the world commemorated World Press Freedom Day on May 03, 2013 is deplorable and not in keeping with the universally acknowledged principles of media freedom and freedom of expression. The occurrence of this arrest in the run up to the 2013 harmonised elections shows a lack of commitment and sincerity to uphold these same said principles by the government of Zimbabwe.

The VMCZ reiterates that it is undemocratic for the state to seek and continue to criminalize the work of professional journalists. This is particularly so where there is the utilization of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act) to arrest and charge journalists under criminal law with publishing falsehoods.

It is important therefore to advise the state, individuals and citizens that there are other avenues through which redress over stories published in the media can be sought and achieved. In the case of the Zimbabwe Independent, the state has a number of options to achieve this redress. These options include seeking the right of reply, approaching the Alpha Media Holdings Ombudsman and also approaching the VMCZ Media Complaints Committee for amicable adjudication in terms of the Media Code of Conduct.

The VMCZ calls for the immediate release of the two Zimbabwe Independent journalists if the state is to demonstrate its full commitment to media freedom, freedom of expression and access to information.

Visit the VMCZ fact sheet

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