Home » Legal and Judicial Affairs » Mandiwanzira Blasts Newsday Scribes’ Arrests

INFORMATION deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira on Tuesday condemned the arrest by the police Monday of Newsday editor, Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Moses Matenga.

Police say the two scribes allegedly tried to incite public violence through writing stories allegedly blaming the tragic killing by a speeding commuter omnibus last week of a three year old minor, on police boss, Augustine Chihuri.

The two journalists were charged for inciting violence through practicing “irresponsible journalism”.

Police later released them before aising they would proceed by way of summons after completing their investigations.

But responding to the police action in Harare Tuesday, Mandiwanzira, also an experienced journalist, blamed government for being reluctant to align the media laws with the new constitution which decriminalises the crime of defamation.

“As long as the law is in place, despite our sentiments as the ministry which superintends over the media which are the most affected by this law, we have to acknowledge that the law is still in our books, that parliament has not done anything yet to adjust that law. It is an unfortunate circumstance. This needs to be addressed and addressed as soon as possible,” Mandiwanzira said.

The former ZBC-TV news anchor was speaking at a meeting organised by MISA Zimbabwe ahead of the World Press Freedom Day which is celebrated every May 3.

Mandiwanzira, owner of ZiFM, said his ministry was not happy with the continued harassment of journalists adding that the action taken by the police was illegal.

“We are opposed to it as a ministry,” he said, “Does that mean that we are opposed to the police action? No we are not. They are doing their job. The police are doing their job in the situation that the law is still within our books because if they do not do it, it will be a dereliction of duty on their part.”

Stakeholders at the meeting asked Mandiwanzira to push for the realignment of media laws with the new constitution so that the nation starts enjoying freedom of expression as provided for by the new constitution.

Meanwhile, the Welshman Ncube led MDC said it was “appalled” by the continued arrest and harassment of journalists during their course of duty.

“The latest arrests of Newsday editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter Moses Matenga, purportedly for highlighting the loss of a child’s life in an accident where the police pursued a Kombi Nollywood style through the streets of Harare is a sad attempt at muzzling the media and frighten them from highlighting Police insensitivity,” party spokesperson Nhlanhla Dube said in a statement Tuesday.

“It is worth noting that the ZRP has been found on the wrong side of compassionate and reasonable road policing when their spike totting details caused a horrific road accident in Bulawayo recently in yet another case involving a public commuter omnibus.

“It is saddening to note that instead of carrying out its constitutional mandate of maintaining the law and order, the police force instead invests its energies on arresting journalists for doing their job.”

Source : New Zimbabwe