2 May 2011

Zimbabwe: Independent Newspaper's Offices Raided

press release

Unknown criminals broke into the offices of the independent newspaper "Newsday" in Harare on 25 April 2011 and stole the editor's laptop, hard drives and other components from computers used by senior editorial staff.

The laptop belonged to editor Brian Mangwende, who writes a hard-hitting column under the title "From the Editor's Bottom Drawer".

Mangwende said the raid was a serious blow to press freedom, coming as it did a few days before World Press Freedom Day commemorations on 3 May 2011. "We will not be deterred by these criminals who are not merely targeting the property of 'Newsday', but freedom of the media."

Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Chief Executive Officer Raphael Khumalo said the break-in and theft were intended to create a negative psychological effect on the paper's staffers. Khumalo, however, commended the swift response from the police after the paper reported the break-in and theft.

AMH are the publishers of "Newsday", "Zimbabwe Independent" and "The Standard" newspapers.

MISA-Zimbabwe urges the police to be thorough in their investigations and bring the culprits to justice in order to send a strong message to other would-be criminals of similar intent that Zimbabwe is more than ready to defend press freedom.

This incident should be given the seriousness it deserves and should not be allowed to linger unresolved, considering the deafening silence over what became of the investigations into the bombings of "The Daily News" offices and printing press in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

No one has ever been arrested for "The Daily News" bombings.

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