Zimbabwean journalists charged with insulting Mugabe

Zimbabwean journalists charged with insulting Mugabe

This posting is an important update by the Committee to protect journalists and the freedom of the press worldwide:

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe talks to supporters gathered to commemorate his 93rd birthday near Bulawayo, February 25, 2017. (Reuters/Philimon Bulawayo)

New York, 03 6, 2017–Zimbabwean authorities should instantly drop all charges against News Day editor Wisdom Mdzungairi and media reporter Richard Chidza, and should cease harmful journalists, the Committee to Protect Media said today.

Police at first asked Mdzungairi and Chidza to recognize the sources of a March two article headlined, “Mugabe in refreshing health scare, ” Mdzungairi informed CPJ. When they refused, police arrested and charged the two with undermining or insulting the country’s leader, their lawyer, Obey Shava, informed CPJ. If convicted, the two encounter a maximum sentence of one 12 months in prison. After hours of asking and paperwork, police released the particular journalists into Shava’s custody upon March 2 pending trial, the particular lawyer told CPJ.

“For too long governments have used laws and regulations on sedition, libel, and offend to try to limit legitimate reporting, inch CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Angela Quintal said. “Zimbabwean authorities ought to immediately drop the charges towards Wisdom Mdzungairi and Richard Chidza and should stop hiding behind poor laws designed to muzzle the push. ”

Zimbabwe’s constitution expressly protects journalists from having to expose their sources.

Chizda told CPJ that law enforcement called the two again today in order to ask them to reveal their sources, and they again refused.

“The arrest itself is part of authorities scare tactics, ” Mdzungairi informed CPJ, adding that he believed the federal government was trying to limit criticism before presidential elections scheduled to take place the coming year.

“They wanted to understand why we had written that tale, ” Chizda told CPJ. “Zimbabwe is going through a transition and I think Excellent role to play… The president is really a public figure, and I think the country has a directly to know what is afflicting the leader. ”

Zimbabwean govt spokesperson George Charamba did not react to CPJ’s repeated phone calls and sms requesting comment.

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