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Media monitors' arrests are shocking and unlawful, say IFEX members

MMPZ's Andrew Moyse was arrested by police, along with three other staff members
MMPZ's Andrew Moyse was arrested by police, along with three other staff members

SW Radio Africa

Three members of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) are in jail after they showed a film about the media's role in the election process, report the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), ARTICLE 19 and Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

The three monitors have been charged for distributing materials likely to "breach the peace," insulting the President and holding a gathering without notifying the police beforehand, MISA reports. Not only do the laws contravene international standards, including the right to freedom of expression and information, according to ARTICLE 19, the arrests have been clearly designed to intimidate those who are pushing for independent press in the country.

On 5 December, police raided the offices of MMPZ and the home of MMPZ's director, Andrew Moyse, and arrested Moyse (who was later released) and staff members Molly Chimhanda, Fadzai December and Gilbert Mabusa, the IFEX members report.

According to MISA, the MMPZ members had been granted bail, but the state suspended the bail decision on 9 December and plans to appeal the decision.

The arrests follow a string of detentions and intimidation against members of independent media organisations, report ARTICLE 19. Two journalists with "The Daily News" were also detained for several hours for an article they wrote about a local government minister's wealth, according to RSF.

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