VMCZ, Zinef slam editors' arrest

HARARE - Media watchdogs have slammed the harassment of the Daily News editors by politically-linked individuals.

This massive uproar from the  Media Institute for Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter (Misa), Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) follows the arrest of two Daily News senior editors on Monday.

The Daily News group editor Stanley Gama and his deputy Chris Goko were arrested and detained for four hours in Harare on Monday over a story on the alleged disappearance of the wife of businessman and Zimpapers board member, Munyaradzi Kereke.

“This arrest is a mirror of the nature of the measure of criminal defamation which in Zimbabwe is being used to intimidate journalists not to report on the conduct of public officials,” Misa said.

VMCZ described the harassment of journalists as undemocratic.

“VMCZ views this unfortunate arrest of the two editors as a perpetuation of the harassment of journalists in the country, and is therefore undemocratic and inimical to freedom of expression,” said the organisation.

 Zinef implored bereaved parties to seek recourse through the media complaints committee of VMCZ.
“Zinef encourages the public to seek redress through amicable means such as approaching the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe,” said Zinef chairperson Brian Mangwende.

“While we clearly acknowledge that readers reserve the right to complain about issues in the media through legal civil action, getting journalists arrested, detained or otherwise will be unhelpful,” Mangwende said.

The Daily News sees the arrest at the instigation of Kereke, as an attempt to intimidate the popular newspaper which has been publishing stories about a minor girl who claims she was raped by the former Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe employee.

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