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MDC condemns arrest of Zimind scribes
Movement for Democratic Change
May 07, 2013

The MDC condemns in the strongest terms the arrest this morning of two Zimbabwe Independent journalists, Editor Dumisani Muleya and Chief Reporter Owen Gagare.

The two are being charged with contravening the Criminal Law Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act for allegedly publishing falsehoods in connection to a story published two weeks ago claiming the MDC was in negotiations with the military and police service chiefs.

They are being held at the Harare Central Police Station’s CID Law and Order Section where they were charged but as other progressive organisations, the MDC demands their immediate release.

As the MDC, we express our displeasure on the arrests, moreso as they come barely four days after Zimbabwe and rest of the world commemorated the World Press Freedom Day on 03 May.

Their arrest comes in less than a week after another journalist, Blessing Mhlanga of the Newsday was arrested and charged with criminal defamation charges while another journalist with the Zimbabwe Independent, Dingilizwe Ntuli was threatened in the State media by the police spokesperson, Charity Charamba.

The threats were made against Ntuli after he wrote an article last week saying that Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri was threatening journalists.

Today’s arrest of Muleya and Gagare and other threats against the media personnel and human rights defenders are a travesty to justice and worse when the draft on the new Constitution is being tabled before Parliament today.

As a nation, the police and the State cannot continue using draconian laws to suppress the will of the people and their fundamental human rights and freedoms.

What is more worrying is that the arrests of the journalists are only targeted at the independent media while those from the State media have limitless opportunities to do as they wish by going on a campaign of writing entire falsehoods against elected officials who are not from Zanu-PF.

We hope the arrests will be a thing of the past soon when the new Constitution becomes the Supreme law of the country as it safeguards the media and other fundamental rights. This development seriously confirms the MDC’s demand for security sector reforms. The MDC will continue to push for a free media environment in the pursuit of a free and democratic Zimbabwe.

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