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Jonathan Moyo says Daily News journalists are common criminals

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo said three journalists who had written a story that ZANU-PF supporters had beheaded a 53-year old woman were not journalists but “common criminals” after the story turned out not to be true.

The journalists, Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza of the Daily News and Andrew Meldrum an American citizen who wrote for the Guardian, were charged under a section of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

Moyo hailed the arrest of the journalists as proof that Zimbabwe respected the rule of law.

 

Full cable:

 

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE1070, REPORTERS RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1070

2002-05-06 05:58

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001070

 

SIPDIS

 

AF/PD FOR COX AND ROBERTSON, AF/S FOR KRAFT AND

SCHLACHTER, AF/RA FOR DIPALMA, INR/R/MR, NSC FOR

JENDAYI FRAZER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: ZI PREL PHUM

SUBJECT: REPORTERS RELEASED FROM POLICE CUSTODY

 

 

1.   Two independent “Daily News” reporters, Lloyd

Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza, and a correspondent for the

British “Guardian” newspaper, American citizen Andrew

Meldrum, were released from police custody on May 2

after they were formally charged under a section of the

newly enacted Access to Information and Protection of

Privacy Act. The charges stem from the journalists’

publication of a story, since discredited, that ZANU-PF

supporters had beheaded a 53-year-old woman.

 

2.   If found guilty of the charges, each of the three

reporters faces a maximum fine of 100,000 Zimbabwe

dollars (about 1800 US dollars at the official exchange

rate) or up to two years imprisonment. The three are

expected to appear in court again on May 3. Lawyers

for the journalists will argue that the case should be

dismissed because the law under which they were charged

is unconstitutional. The case is likely to work its

way slowly through Zimbabwe’s court system.

 

3.   A May 2 news release from the Zimbabwe chapter of

the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA),

condemned the detention of the three journalists,

saying “the suffering, humiliation and intimidation

they had experienced far outweighed the offense they

were alleged to have committed.” Information Minister

Jonathan Moyo said that the three were not journalists

but “common criminals,” and hailed their arrest as

proof that Zimbabwe respects the rule of law.

 

SULLIVAN

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