Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
 
Zimbabwe11 June 2002

Guardian and RFI correspondent risks two years in jail

Update: 06.12.2002

Andrew Meldrum pleaded not guilty. Then the president of the court adjourned the trial waiting for witnesses from Magunje (230 km of Harare).


06.11.2002

Andrew Meldrum will appear in court on 12 June 2002 as the first journalist to be tried under Zimbabwe’s new press law. Andrew Meldrum, who is correspondent for the British newspapers The Guardian and The Economist and for Radio France International (RFI), is charged with "abuse of journalistic privileges by publishing falsehoods" and risks two years imprisonment if convicted.

"We call on the judiciary to show their independence of the government and to do all they can to see that the charges against him are dropped," said Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard. "He was simply doing his job and nothing can justify his imprisonment for this."

"Usually when journalists are arrested in Zimbabwe, they are freed on bail almost immediately, after which the case drags on for years and very rarely comes to anything," he said. "In this instance, the government seems to have decided to fast-track the case and apply this very repressive law."

Andrew Meldrum quoted in The Guardian an item from the Zimbabwean paper Daily News that said militants of the ruling ZANU-PF party beheaded a woman in a village in northwestern Zimbabwe. A few days later, the Daily News said there was no proof this had happened and apologised to the ZANU-PF. Two of the paper’s reporters, Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza, were arrested on 30 April. The next day, Andrew Meldrum was picked up as well. All three were freed on bail on 2 May.

image 140 x 142 (JPEG) Reporters Without Borders notes that since the press law (the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) came into force on 15 March, 11 journalists have been charged with 21 charges. President Robert Mugabe is on the Reporters Without Borders worldwide list of 38 predators of press freedom



In this country
2 October - Zimbabwe
Police arrest two actors and a journalist during performance of satirical play
28 September - Zimbabwe
Intelligence services draw up blacklist of journalists to be watched and arrested first
6 August - Zimbabwe
All communications can now be intercepted under new law signed by Mugabe
6 April - Zimbabwe
Freed on bail, journalist immediately hospitalized because of beatings in police custody
19 March - Zimbabwe
Intelligence agency and media commission help torpedo remaining independent news media

in the annual report
Zimbabwe - Annual Report 2007
Zimbabwe - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
24 December - Somalia
French cameraman freed by kidnappers after being held for eight days
24 December - Niger
Two French TV journalists charged with breach of national security
20 December - Niger
Call for release of two French TV journalists detained in Niamey

africa archives
archives

reports
12 November 2007 - Guinea-Bissau
Cocaine and coups haunt gagged nation
18 April 2007 - Sudan
Darfur : An investigation into a tragedy’s forgotten actors
9 November 2005 - Rwanda
Jailed Belgian priest and ex-editor is innocent and must be freed, says Reporters Without Borders
archives

Sign the petitions
Eritrea
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists
Niger
“Moussa Kaka must be free”

© Reporters Without Borders - 47, rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris - France
| About us | Contact us | Links | RSS | Rsfblog | Journalists Memorial |