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NewsDay journalists arrested

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NEWSDAY editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Moses Matenga were yesterday detained at Harare Central Police Station, Law and Order Section, for six hours in a development condemned by stakeholders in the media industry.

CHARLES LAITON/FELUNA NLEYA

NewsDay is one of four titles published under the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) stable alongside Southern Eye, Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard.

The scribes and the company secretary Sifikile Thabete reported to Harare Central Police Station in the morning following publication last week of a story of a three-year-old Harare boy, Neil Tanatswa Mutyora, who was hit by a speeding commuter omnibus during a police chase.

They were summoned to appear at the Law and Order Section on Friday last week. According to the charge preferred against the scribes, the story titled Chihuri you are responsible, was meant to “incite public disorder or public violence or to endanger public safety”.

Their lawyer Advocate Tonderai Bhatasara said: “My clients were released on the understanding they would be called once the police are done with their investigations.

“They were, however, charged for contravening Section 31 (a) (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act,” he said
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Bhatasara said the law under which the journalists were charged was struck off the register some time ago by the Supreme Court in a case involving two other journalists, AMH editor-in-chief Vincent Kahiya and former NewsDay editor Constantine Chimakure.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary-general Foster Dongozi said the arrests were part of a systematic harassment of journalists by State security agents.

“This kind of behaviour is appalling given that the issue is being handled at the Law and Order level,” he said.

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