Journalists Charged With Theft, Defamation

This was after Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe advisor Munyaradzi Kereke made a police report claiming they had stolen confidential documents about Green Card Medical Aid Society.
The paper had reported that the society was facing imminent collapse because its income was  far outweighed by expenditure.
He also launched a US$2 million civil suit against the newspaper owned by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), the publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent and NewsDay.
Magistrate Sandra Mupindu released the journalists on US$100 bail each and ordered them to surrender their passports.
But Mupindu threw out an application by Kereke  seeking to bar the AMH titles from reporting on the problems facing his company.
She said: “The issue of publication has not been put as a condition because that is the issue of the Civil Courts that deals with interdicts.”
Defence lawyers said acceding to Kereke’s application would be in violation of press freedom.
Meanwhile, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) has lashed at the continued use of criminal defamation against journalists.

“VMCZ views the arrest of the two as part of a growing campaign to intimidate the media and muzzle the press, in a bid to stop journalists from unearthing corrupt practices,” the body said in a statement.

 “VMCZ also call on the inclusive government to condemn the police actions. The government must demonstrate its commitment to the principles of accountability by enforcing freedom of expression.”