SW Radio Africa (London)

7 November 2012

Zimbabwe: MISA Warns of Increasing Media Intimidation

Photo: MDC
File Photo: Zimbabwean police

Media rights watchdog MISA-Zimbabwe has warned that there are an increasing number of incidents involving intimidation of the media, ahead of the next elections.

Most recently, the editor of the Weekly Mirror provincial newspaper in Mashonaland West was arrested Tuesday on allegations of operating a media house without a licence, in contravention of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Dennis Kagonye was held in detention overnight before being brought before Chinoyi Magistrate Fanuel Nyakudya on Wednesday. The magistrate sentenced Kagonye to two months in prison with the option of a US$100 fine, which he elected to pay.

Kagonye was also handed a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment, on condition he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.

The editor's arrest comes barely two weeks after he was summoned by the police following the publication of an article in the Weekly Mirror in September, titled: "Chief terrorises headman". It is unclear yet whether his arrest was in any way connected to this, but observers have said it all forms part of the widespread intimidation of media players

MISA-Zimbabwe information officer, Nyasha Nyakunu, told SW Radio Africa that Kagonye's case also "vindicates our position that AIPPA is undemocratic." He explained that charges against Kagonye should not have been tried as a criminal case.

"This shows the need for an electoral roadmap ahead of the next elections that will guarantee the reform of the media to ensure the safety of media professionals. If these laws are still in place come elections, then more journalists will be arrested," Nyakunu warned.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2012 SW Radio Africa. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

African Media Tasked to Promote Good Governance

Amadou Mahtar Ba, chief executive officer of the African Media Initiative and chair of AllAfrica Global Media.

Media owners and editors, joined by government ministers and civil society activists, are meeting in Dakar at the 5th annual African Media Leaders Forum. AllAfrica and its ... Read more »

Zimbabwe: Misa Warns of Media harassment Ahead of Elections

File Photo: Zimbabwean police

The Media Institute of Southern Africa, a regional media watchdog, has warned of increased journalists intimidation and muzzling ahead of general elections in Zimbabwe. Read more »