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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Community radio journalists arrested, granted bail
    Francis Rwodzi
    July 30, 2013

    Three journalists affiliated to Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) have been arrested by police on allegations of violating the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) in a move that has confirmed widely held beliefs that the government is not willing to open up the airwaves for independent broadcasters.

    The arrests also comes barely months after the signing into law of the new constitution which guarantees freedom of expression and hardly hours before the country votes in a make or break election.

    The media practitioners, Emmy Maseko (Reporter), Paul Gundani and Howard Masaninga (Board Members) from Radio Kwelaz, an affiliate of ZACRAS were arrested and taken for questioning by police concerning the operations of their radio station.

    Maseko was arrested while she was doing some recordings on the views of the people with regards to the impending polls while Gundani and Masaninga were summoned by officers from the law and order section where they demanded the registration document and membership database from the two. Gundani and Masaninga were released after signing a recorded statement.

    The registration document was produced yesterday (Monday) before the police by Radio Kwelaz board chairperson, Eric Musesengwa who was also released after a recorded statement. Maseko has today (Tuesday) been granted $100 bail but is facing charges of contravening section 78 of AIPPA while Gundani and Masaninga were also granted $100 bail each and will face charges of contravening section 7 of the Broadcasting Services Act.

    Maseko face up to six months in prison if convicted while Gundani and Masaninga faces 3 months each.

    ZACRAS has condemned the arrests as unwarranted saying that they are a violation of the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the constitution. The organisation also called on the government to stop the persecution of journalists and blasted the continued monopolisation of the country’s airwaves as unfortunate. ZACRAS said that it is also worrisome that the arrests come at a time we are preparing for a crunch election, which requires a plurality of views.

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