Three South Africans journalists have been arrested after they were found with broadcasting equipment, writes Gugu Ziyaphapha.

Police say the equipment belongs to the British television network Sky TV. The three were arrested at a road block in Mbalabala along the Bulawayo / Beitbridge highway.

Provincial police spokesperson Ronald Muderedzwa says the three and other suspects had been broadcasting illegally from a factory in the Belmont area of Bulawayo.

Muderedzwa said: "They were unable to account properly on how they came in possession of that equipment, but they said they had been sent by certain white South Africans who are in Bulawayo.

"The equipment suggests that these people were running a studio as Sky News because all the gadgets are labelled Sky News so our police officers are now investigating the matter."

Sky News in London told The Associated Press that it was investigating the issue but could not comment yet.

The police impounded the broadcasting kit and equipment which also includes satellite dishes, transmitters, telephone handsets and audio and videotapes, laptops, computers, discs, and the South Africa-bound car.

Police also say the equipment had been in the factory since March 23, a week before the March 29 elections
Two of the three South Africans were without valid passports at the time of their arrest.
It is alleged the trio attempted to offer the policemen R25 000 as a bribe in return for their freedom. and some other western news organisations such as CNN, BBC, and Sky News are prohibited from operating in the country by the Zanu PF government. The government accuses the foreign media of being hostile towards President Mugabe’s rule.

As the second presidential run off draws nearer, many of the banned media houses are using locals and other foreign journalists to secretly file stories of the political violence that is taking place across the country.

In Zimbabwe it is illegal to own or use transmission equipment or satellite phones without government permission

Persons caught with the equipment or practicing journalism without state permission and accreditation can be jailed for two years.

The New York-based International Committee to Protect Journalists says Harare is one of the world's most hostile governments towards the press.

Meanwhile, journalist and author Peter Godwin was arrested at an Anglican church in Harare for photographing the graves of his parents without the permission of the priest.

The priest in charge of the parish, Reverend Harry Mambo Rinashe was recently consecrated Bishop of the renegade Anglican Province of Zimbabwe. The rebel province is led by controversial Archbishop Nolbert Kunonga, a well known Mugabe supporter.
Godwin is an award winning writer and his books include Mukiwa: A white boy in Africa, Wild at Heart , Rhodesians Never Die, The Three of Us and When A Crocodile Eats The Sun.

He once worked as a foreign correspondent for the London Sunday Times and later as a documentary maker for BBC TV.
His sister Georginah was a journalist with the banned Capitol radio.