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Journalists Charged With Publishing False Data Messages

Alpha Media Holdings editor-in-chief Wisdom Mdzungairi and senior reporter Desmond Chingarande were on the 3 August 2022 arrested and charged over a story they published pertaining to the legal squabbles relating to Glenforest Memorial Park in Harare.

The two are being accused of contravening Section 164C of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, as amended through the Cyber and Data Protection Act, which relates to publishing false data messages intending to cause harm.

Lawyer, Jeremiah Bamu, who was deployed by MISA Zimbabwe said the police recorded their warned and cautioned statements and advised that they would be notified of the court dates.

AMH are publishers of NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard newspapers.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Zimbabwe) has reiterates its long-standing position that when journalists are undertaking their professional duties, they will be exercising their constitutional rights as stipulated in Section 61 of the Constitution and that they have a right to seek, receive and impart information.

“Any limitation to this right should qualify under the three-pronged test, which requires legality, proportionality and necessity. It is also our position that criminal sanctions on false news are disproportionate and not necessary,” said MISA Zimbabwe in a statement.

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