Cablegate: Media Report: Editor Arrested Under Aippa; Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Norma Edwards (66), the editor of the independent
provincial weekly "The Mirror" was arrested and
charged under the controversial Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) on
January 3 for "publishing a false story." Edwards
was charged for running a story that appeared in the
December 19 edition on the arrests of National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists and
opposition Movement for democratic Change (MDC)
activists in the town of Masvingo, 293 kilometers
south of the capital Harare. In the story, the
paper chronicled the events surrounding the arrest
of the four activists and their alleged ill-
treatment by the police while being held two nights
for purportedly masterminding a work stoppage in the
town. Edwards was released January 6 and remanded
out of custody to February 19, 2003. The police
have also questioned Kennedy Murwira, the journalist
who wrote the story, and recorded a warned and
cautioned statement.

2. Since AIPPA became law on March 15, 2002, twelve
journalists working for the private media, including four
editors have been arrested and charged for violating
Section 80 of the Act. The Section falls under what is
termed "Abuse of Journalistic Privilege." According to
AIPPA, journalists are said to have "abused their
privilege" by writing falsehoods and/or fabricating
information. The offense carries a fine of up to Z$100,000
or imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years. So
far, no journalist has been imprisoned or fined for
violating AIPPA.


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