A journalist working for South African free-to-air television station e.tv and at least one assistant were arrested in eastern Zimbabwe this week while trying to report on illegal dealings in the diamond-rich Marange district, write Riaan Wolmarans and Sapa-dpa in the Mail & Guardian Online.
Peter Moyo, a Zimbabwean national working as a producer for e.tv's
investigative 3rd Degree programme, was arrested on Tuesday, said Sam
Rogers, the show's executive producer.
Also detained was cameraman William Gumbo, who was hired from the
Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation to work with Moyo. Zimbabwe's
state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that another Zimbabwean,
named only as Trymore, was also arrested, but Rogers could not confirm
Moyo was out on bail and on his way back to South Africa on Friday,
said Rogers, who added she did not know when the men would appear in
court again in Zimbabwe.
According to the Herald's report, the three were arrested by police in
Mutare and were found in possession of tapes that showed they had been
filming in the Marange and Bikita districts. Police in the area have
been trying to clamp down on illegal diamond mining and dealing.
The three will face charges of working without accreditation, said the
Herald. All journalists who work in Zimbabwe require permission from
the state-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC).
However, Rogers said the Zimbabwean districts are a "real hot spot" for
illegal diamond dealings, often involving foreigners, and Moyo may have
been mistaken by police for one of these foreigners.
Police seized the reporters' cameras, videotapes and what was described
as a "spy video camera disguised as an ordinary satchel", said the
Herald. Rogers confirmed that the equipment belonged to e.tv and that
the station's lawyers were working on having it returned to South
Dozens of journalists, including several foreign reporters, have been
arrested under Zimbabwe's strict press laws since they came into effect
in 2002. Working without accreditation can result in prison sentences
of up to two years.
For the full story go to The Mail & Guardian Online