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radio journalists arrested, granted bail
July 30, 2013
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.
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.
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
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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