Zimbabwean journalist jailed for publishing unregistered newspaper



WINDHOEK, Namibia, 26 June 2015 – PRN Africa — According to The Mirror newspaper, Chiredzi-based freelance journalist Patrick Chitongo has been sentenced to one-year imprisonment by Magistrate Tafadzwa Mhlanga for publishing an unregistered newspaper in Zimbabwe.

Mr. Chitongo and three other defendants stood accused of collaborating to publish a newspaper that was not registered with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), with a view to selling it.
They proceeded to publish three issues of the unregistered newspaper titled The Southern Mirror.

The State, led by Chiedza Muhwandavaka, argued that the act was in contravention of Section 72(1) the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which states,
“No person shall carry on or operate a mass media service without a valid registration certificate.”

Mr. Chitongo’s co-accused defendants were acquitted after they were established to be students who were not involved in the publication of the newspaper.
Chitongo, who was represented by Martin Mureri of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights unsuccessfully argued that the published newspaper was just a dummy and to be presented to ZMC for the purpose of registration.

Despot - Robert Mugabe

Despot – Robert Mugabe

Chitongo will serve an affective 8 months’ imprisonment following the suspension of four months of the sentence on condition of not committing a similar offence in the next five years.
SOURCE Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)

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