IFJ calls for immediate release of imprisoned editor

The International Federation of Journalists is calling for the release of an editor imprisoned in Zimbabwe.

 

 

 

Zimbabwean national Davison Maruziva, the editor of a privately owned weekly The Standard, was arrested and charged with “false statements prejudicial to the state and contempt of court” last month after publishing an article by an opposition leader criticising Mugabe’s government.

“We are outraged that the media continue to be the scapegoats of the Zimbabwe government in the country’s crisis,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We call on the authorities to release Maruziva immediately and to drop all the baseless charges against him.”

The IFJ reports that since the March election in Zimbabwe, at least ten foreign and Zimbabwean journalists have been detained and many foreign journalists have been refused entry to the country.

Reuters cameraman Howard Burditt and freelance journalist Frank Chikowore were released this week after being arrested. Burditt was detained for using a satellite phone to send pictures and Chikowore for ‘public violence’.

The IFJ is also campaigning in Bahrain, where a proposal to amend press law to decriminalise media offences is due to be voted on in parliament. The IFJ is calling for parliament to approve the proposals and quickly amend the law, which will put a stop to jail sentences and pre-publication censorship.

 

According to the IFJ, a complaint has been made in the last few days by a political party, the Islamic Forum Society, which could see Al Awam reporter Batool Al Sayed and editor-in-chief Isa Alshaiji charged over an article on local government corruption. If convicted the two could face fines or a prison sentence under current legislation.

 

“We welcome the move by the Parliament to introduce a law that would end the fear and uncertainty our colleagues face in Bahrain,” said IFJ General Secretary Aidan White. “This is a step in the right direction for the press, especially for the two journalists who are facing prosecution for a critical news story.”

 

 

 

 

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