Journalists' arrest cause for concern: Jonathan Moyo

HARARE - Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister, Jonathan Moyo yesterday lambasted powerful and well connected individuals who use the police to arrest journalists in cases which he says should be solved at the civil courts.

This follows the arrest yesterday of the Daily News Group Editor Stanley Gama and senior writer, Fungi Kwaramba at the instigation of foreign businessman Kamal Khalfan of Oman. 

Find below the full text of the comments Moyo sent to the Daily News.

"Media inquiries suggesting that the editor of, and a reporter at, the Daily News have been or might be charged with criminal defamation have caused us some concern at the Ministry.

We have previously placed on record that in our view criminal defamation is not only outdated and incompatible with the values and ideals of the liberation struggle with respect to human rights and freedoms but also, and more importantly, criminal defamation is inconsistent with our new Constitution.

In this connection, we are of the firm view that a criminal defamation charge cannot be sustained in the courts and should therefore be removed from our statute books in order to align the law with the new Constitution and to avoid wasting of police resources and time over a matter that has no constitutional basis.

The idea that powerful interests or individuals in our society find it easy to invoke criminal defamation against the media using the police is not only unconstitutional, it is also not in the public interest not least because the poor never ever invoke criminal discrimination against anyone.

This does not mean anyone has a right to lie but that defamation is better handled through civil and not criminal litigation in accordance with our new Constitution which in section 63(5) makes clear that freedom of expression and freedom of the media do not include malicious injury to a person's reputation or dignity". 

Accordingly, I hope constitutionality will prevail and that therefore the matter in question will not go beyond the inconveniences already suffered by all those concerned."

Comments (16)

Jonso, Jonso, Jonso rova vanhu, don't allow criminals to abuse our journalists! aluta continua pasi ne corruption

moses mutoko - 8 April 2014

Jonathan is a born-again democrat. He is rediscovering his yesteryear credentials when he used to be an uncompromising conscience-stricken academic. Welcome back, Jonathan our prodigal son!

Jonso Ndizvo - 8 April 2014

its so refreshing to have a minister like J M. You certainly are on the right side , the peoples side.

mungi - 8 April 2014

Jonathan Moyo for the 'Third Force' leader. We applaud you, carry on in the same direction and destroy AIPPA and POSA which you crafted.

Dr Know - 8 April 2014

I'm really impressed by Jonathan Moyo. Yes I remember Jonathan saying only donkeys sticky to their position (even in the face of an oncoming 30 tonner or gonyeti). For Jonathan we definitely say kudos! Lead the way. If the Biblical Saul changed so why not Jonathan. Only learned people have brains to know when to review one's own views. Morons will continue along the path like donkeys facing a 30-tonner.

dick mboko - 8 April 2014

the realisation of human dignity is fundamental to our living as human beings

hatienzani - 8 April 2014

Is this the same Johno we know who used to use the AIPPA & POSA to arrest journalist and opposition parties members now saying this? Kugocha kunoda kwaamai kwemwana kunodzima moto.

keziah - 8 April 2014

Jonathan Nathaniel Moyo is that really you? Could it be true...Leopard and spots. Stanley Gama should watch out being defended by Nathaniel. Moyo has been making all the right noises lately the sceptic in me says he is bidding his time and in the fullness of time he will strike & he will be calling in the favours.

Lt General - 8 April 2014

Jonathan Moyo is not a police officer, and he should not interfere with police work. Police have found reason to question someone and establish an offence had been committed. At training, police curicullum prepares ofiicers to distinguish between criminal and civil cases, and Moyo should wait for the outcome of police investigations, and not try to restore his once-battered relationship with the media, by bashing the police when he is not familiar with the charges police would want to prefer against any suspect.

machakachaka - 8 April 2014

@Machakachaka pls stop talking nonsense and give credit where credit is due. Why should Jonathan not speak out against what is clearly wrong? Because he used to do wrong things himself? Please!!!!!

KM - 8 April 2014

I'm not surprised by Jonathan rather I'm paranoid. Tsvimborume kana dzavakubvisa mwana wemvana madzihwa then something is seriously wrong. The Daily News has been getting unusual sympathy from Moyo. I don't understand his motive, but rest assured his plan is evil. We may celebrate him now, but I have a feeling that after tying us with his rope then it would be too late to untie ourselves. The Daily News must treat this man and his kin with all the suspicion, unless of course they have been infiltrated. These ZANU guys are slowly becoming experts of deception and if you sleep with both your eyes closed then you are gone. Let us not be fooled by all this sudden goody goody charm because when their time is ripe they will strike with venomous power and this will come back to haunt us. It would be too late. Remember the so much very understanding Mr Mugabe during the GNU. He even " confided" in Tsvangirai, telling him all the "secrets" and plans. Come election day we were all shocked. This is Zanu, guys BEWARE.

mosquito - 8 April 2014

Jonathan Moyo for President

Oscar Pretorius Ndlovu - 9 April 2014

While I appreciate and laud Jonathan Moyo's position, I want to warn his praise singers to hold back a bit. The man is a proven flip flopper, we all know him. I view his siding with the masses with a lot of suspicion. Lets acknowledge the good that he is doing, but lets not praise him in the manner that I am seeing here. Just saying

Hard-to-Convince - 9 April 2014

Prof Moyo,the pwerful interests or groups in our society that you mention are all members and backers of ZANU PF,your party. It is these interests and groups that have brought Zimbabwe where we are today,politically and economically. Our problems are authored at Jongwe House and nowhere else. It is ZANU PF who are dilly-dallying with the alignment our our laws to Zimbabwe's new constitution. Rautenbach,Kamal Kalfan of Oman are both bedfellows of ZANU PF. Hoogstratten,another business tycon,has been a financial backer of ZANU PF for many years and still is. All these are mafia-type business people and ZANU's friends. So,Professor,look no further than your party,ZANU PF.

joseph - 9 April 2014

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sinyorita - 9 April 2014

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