11 February 1998


WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown

Incident details

Mark Chavunduka, Ray Choto, Clive Wilson, Ibbo Mandaza, Grace Kwinjeh, Fernando Goncalves, Farai Mungazi



The World Association of Newspapers has condemned the unlawful detention
and alleged torture of journalists in Zimbabwe and has called on
President Robert Mugabe to end the government's crackdown on the
independent press.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 10 February, 9 February, 8 February, 3
February, 29 January, 27 January, 25 January, 22 January, 21 January, 18
January, 15 January and 13 January 1999**

(WAN/IFEX) - The following is a WAN press release:

Paris, 11 February 1999

For immediate release

WAN Condemns Zimbabwe Press Crackdown
"We are particularly dismayed that these events should occur in a
country such as Zimbabwe which espouses democracy and professes to
uphold the rule of law," WAN said in a letter to President Mugabe. "It
is also saddening to witness the prosecution of journalists under laws
originally drafted to entrench apartheid."

"We respectfully request that all detained journalists are released
immediately, charges against them and their colleagues dropped, and
harassment of the press halted," said the letter, signed by WAN
President Bengt Braun. "Moreover, we urge you to ensure that a full
investigation into the unlawful arrests and alleged torture is
undertaken, and those responsible brought to justice."

WAN, the global association of the newspaper industry, which represents
15,000 newspapers, defends and promotes press freedom world-wide.

Two Zimbabwean journalists - Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto of The
Standard newspaper - were illegally detained by the military last month
following the newspaper's story about an alleged plot by soldiers to
overthrow the government.

On their release, Mr Chavunduka and Mr Choto said they had been tortured
while being interrogated by the military. They have subsequently been
charged with the "crime" of publishing false reports that were "likely
to cause alarm, fear or despondency to the public" and could face a
maximum prison sentence of seven years.

Other arrests have followed. Clive Wilson, the managing director of The
Standard, was held in jail for three nights before being released
unconditionally. Also arrested were Zimbabwe Mirror Publisher and Editor
Ibbo Mandaza, Reporter Grace Kwinjeh, News Editor Fernando Goncalves and
their colleague Farai Mungazi.

The Paris-based WAN's membership includes 57 national newspaper
publisher associations, individual newspaper executives in 90 countries,
17 news agencies and seven regional press groups.


World Association of Newspapers
7 Rue Geoffroy St. Hilaire
75005 Paris
contact_us (@) wan.asso.fr
Fax:+33 14 742 4948

More on this case

"Standard" journalists' trial date set 15 March 2000 Tortured journalists' trial deferred 7 January 2000 Court clears minister of contempt charges; spares newspaper costs 15 March 1999 Court rules for journalists to seek medical treatment, state appeals 24 February 1999 IFJ condemns Zimbabwe for arrests and torture 12 February 1999 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1999 Medical report details torture of two journalists 10 February 1999 Human Rights Watch protests new crackdown on Zimbabwe's independent media 10 February 1999 RSF protests deteriorating press freedom situation 9 February 1999 Three more journalists arrested 8 February 1999 ARTICLE 19 to support journalists' legal bid 3 February 1999 Newspaper director released unconditionally; government promises to crack down on bad press against military 27 January 1999 Police blockade peaceful protest 27 January 1999 Newspaper's managing editor appears in court 27 January 1999 NDIMA protests detention of journalist 25 January 1999 Fears for newspaper director high 25 January 1999 Journalists sent for full medical check-up amid disclosure of torture ordeal; further attacks on journalists; protest held in Namibia 22 January 1999 Journalists released on bail 21 January 1999 Detained journalists appear in court 21 January 1999 MISA concerned for health and well-being of detained journalists 21 January 1999 Journalists tortured while in custody 21 January 1999 WAN protests continued illegal detention of journalist 21 January 1999 Zimbabwean defence ministry continues to detain journalist 18 January 1999 Journalist still detained 15 January 1999 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 WAN condemns Zimbabwe press crackdown 11 February 1998 Editor arrested 13 January 1999
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