(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - The following is a 1 May 2002 joint statement by 11 IFEX members urging the Zimbabwean government to drop the charges against three journalists arrested under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act:
PRESS RELEASE: Eleven IFEX members sign appeal urging Zimbabwe to drop charges against journalists
We, the participants at the UNESCO-sponsored conference on Terrorism and Media meeting in Manila, the Philippines from 1-2 May 2002 express concern over reports that Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza, reporters for The Daily News, an independent Zimbabwean daily, and Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for the London-based Guardian newspaper, have been arrested and charged with disseminating false information contrary to the recently adopted Zimbabwean Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
This law has been widely criticised by freedom of expression and media organisations and the offence of disseminating false information was just two years ago struck down by the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe as being contrary to the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression.
We the undersigned call on the Zimbabwean authorities to drop the charges against these journalists and to refrain from harassing journalists under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
Free Media Movement
Human Rights Watch
International Federation of Journalists
Pacific Islands News Association
Pakistan Press Foundation
Thai Journalists Association
World Association of Newspapers
World Press Freedom Committee
11 IFEX members sign appeal urging Zimbabwe to drop charges against journalists