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Zimbabwe: Standard journalists released on bail, investigation continues

Nevanji Madanhire, the editor of independent weekly The Standard, was released on bail of 100 dollars (69 euros) on the evening of June 30, 24 hours after the release of his reporter, Patience Nyangove.

Their release on bail was confirmed when they appeared in court July 1. The two journalists and Loud Ramakgopola, a senior employee of the company that owns The Standard, were arrested during a raid on the newspaper on June 29, according to Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF).

They are all still subject to a judicial investigation on charges of criminal defamation and “publication of false statements prejudicial to the state.” The police have refused to return the mobile phone they took from Nyangove on the grounds that it could provide them with evidence. Examining her phone violates the principle that journalists’ sources are confidential.

The arrests were prompted by an article in The Standard’s June 26 issue headlined “MDC-T fears for missing Timba’s life.” It was about the arrest of Jameson Timba, a senior aide to Tsvangirai and a minister of state in his government, on June 24 on his return to Zimbabwe after attending a special Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit on June 11-12 in South Africa.

During the summit, a South African newspaper quoted Timba as describing Mugabe as a “liar.” Leading Zanu-PF member Jonathan Moyo reacted by accusing Timba and Tsvangirai of insulting the president and calling for their arrest. Zimbabwean journalists who reported these developments are being accused of violating article 31 of the criminal code on defaming the government.

Date posted: July 2, 2011 Last modified: May 24, 2018 Total views: 256