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IFJ Condemns “New Media Terror” - Zimbabwe

IFJ Condemns “New Media Terror” as Mugabe Police Hold Journalists

The International Federation of Journalists today condemned the Zimbabwe government for unleashing “a new wave of intimidation and terror against media” in advance of hotly contested elections to take place on 31 March.

The IFJ was responding to the arrest of three foreign correspondents in Harare yesterday.
“For the last two years, Zimbabwe’s media have been in a state of censorship and paralysis”, said Aidan White, the General Secretary of the IFJ. “These latest arrests signal a new wave of intimidation and media terror by the regime of Robert Mugabe. Journalists around the world rightly condemn these latest attacks”.

Yesterday, officers from the police's law and order section and agents of the government's Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) raided the offices and arrested Brian Latham, Angus Shaw and Jaan Raath, three senior correspondents for leading international news agencies. These arrests occur in an increasing atmosphere of threats against the media before next month's election.

According to local sources, the three journalists were still detained at Harare Central police station by late last night. The police are accusing the journalists of working without being accredited by the government's Media and Information Commission. The three journalists could be jailed for up to two years if found guilty but their lawyer said their arrest was a "clear case of harassment and intimidation".

Raath works for the Times of London, Shaw writes for Associated Press while Latham writes for several South African papers.

According to the state's repressive press laws, journalists can be jailed for up to two years if found guilty of reporting or writing falsehoods. The authorities declared that foreign correspondents could apply for accreditation to cover the upcoming election but that there was no guarantee that all wishing to report on the poll would be allowed to do so.

© Scoop Media

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