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Editor and senior journalist arrested, charged with publishing falsehoods
May 08, 2013
editor of the Zimbabwe Independent and chief reporter, Owen Gagare,
were on Tuesday, 7 May 2013 arrested and charged with publishing
or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state. They
were later released by police.
Muleya and Gagare,
together with Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) company secretary Nqobile
Ndlovu, were charged under Section 31 of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act. The offence carries a fine
of up to or exceeding Level 14 or imprisonment for a period not
exceeding 20 years or both.
a Level 14 fine means the offence is deemed serious. It is not immediately
clear what the maximum fine would be in this case.
their seven-hour detention at Harare Central Police Station, Muleya
said this was one of the typical cases involving the harassment
and intimidation of journalists which is rampant in Zimbabwe.
is a clear abuse of state machinery and an act of systematic harassment
and intimidation of journalists who are merely doing their job.
This has always been a common feature of Zimbabwe under President
Robert Mugabe and his Orwellian Zanu-PF regime since they came to
power in 1980,” he said.
Zanu-PF is the
political party to which president Robert Mugabe belongs.
uncalled for move is calculated to muzzle the media, in this case
ourselves, to scare us away (sic) from writing about such major
issues of overwhelming public interest, especially security sector
reform, ahead of general elections. But one really wonders why authoritarian
regimes like the one in Zimbabwe still think they can successfully
suppress the media in this digital and social media age,”
Chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe)
is greatly concerned with the continuous harassment and intimidation
of journalists by state security agents only a few days after the
commemoration of World Press Freedom Day on 3 May.
We condemn these
actions in the strongest of terms as they are designed to instill
fear and hinder journalists from conducting their lawful professional
duties of informing the nation on socio-economic and political developments
that affect their daily lives.
We thus reiterate
our demand for the repealing or amending of repressive legislation
such as the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which have
no place in a democratic society. The arrests make a very strong
case for urgent media legislative reforms, more so in the context
of the envisaged new constitution which will, for the first time,
explicitly guarantee media freedom and access to information.
Muleya and Gagare
were charged under the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
following publication of a story alleging that the Morgan Tsvangirai
led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) was engaged in private
talks with Zimbabwe’s security chiefs ahead of general elections
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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