The case will be a test case for ZMC as it has in the past always warned private newspapers against writing “falsehoods” although the commission had no evidence to back its threats against private papers.
The Herald of 6 January 2012 carried an article titled “PM embroiled in bribery scandal” alleging that Tsvangirai had bribed editors from Daily News, Newsday and Standard in order to influence them to “write positive stories on his political and personal life.”
“The Prime Minister hereby lodges with your Commission, a formal complaint against the ‘The Herald’ and the Editor of the Herald for their conduct which is in breach of all known journalistic ethics,” said Tsvangirai in a statement written on his behalf by Chief Secretary in his office, Ian Makone.
“The Herald story does not provide proof of these serious allegations nor does it name the sources that provided them with the evidence to support the bribery allegations. There is no attempt in the whole article to substantiate the allegations of bribery against the Prime Minister. The story is shockingly lacking in truth and detail”.
“The premier further states that the bribery allegations are false in their entirety. It is the Prime Minister’s view that these allegations were concocted by The Herald and those that are politically associated with them in order to portray him as a corrupt politician, thereby discrediting him,” wrote Tsvangirai.