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SANEF, SAEF AND TAEF WELCOME THE RELEASE ON BAIL OF ZIMBABWEAN JOURNALIST, HOPEWELL CHIN’ONO AND CALL FOR CHARGES TO BE DROPPED

Journalist Hopewell Chin’ono

 

The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) joins the Southern Africa Editors’ Forum (SAEF) and The African Editors Forum (TAEF) in welcoming the release, on bail, of Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin’ono after being held for 44 days in pre-trial detention.

SANEF, SAEF and TAEF also join other African and global media and human rights organisations such as the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) in condemning the arrest of Chin’ono in the first place on 20 July 2020.

SANEF chairperson, Sbu Ngalwa says, “We welcome the release of Chin’ono but believe that this was an abusive move in the first place. All these spurious charges should be dropped against him with immediate effect. Further, we note the tremendous courage and resoluteness shown by Chin’ono upon his release from jail on Wednesday”.

SANEF, SAEF and TAEF stand in solidarity with our colleagues in Zimbabwe in condemning all injustices perpetrated against journalists in that country and the rest of Africa.

We firmly believe that the Zimbabwean government should allow journalists to do their work freely without fear and political hindrance. This especially as Zimbabwe has declared to Africa and the world that it is a democracy.

We wish to reiterate an earlier appeal made that current African Union (AU) Chairperson and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, intervene in this matter.

Since July 20, Chin’ono was remanded in prison and denied bail on charges of “inciting public violence” in terms of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act. Police raided his home in Harare without a search warrant as required by law.

In the continued harassment of journalists, Zimbabwean police on July 30, raided and ransacked the home of online publisher ZimLive editor, Mduduzi Mathuthu in Bulawayo looking for “subversive material”.

We remain deeply concerned that 2020 has become a dark period for media freedom worldwide considering the increase in the number of journalists jailed in various countries since the beginning of lockdowns brought about by the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

In Tanzania, we note with regret that President, John Magufuli recently signed new anti-media freedom regulations, wiping clean the gains made by the media in that country in the past four decades.

In Egypt, there was the increase of the sentence Al Jazeera journalist, Mahmoud Hussein is serving.

In Hong Kong, founder and publisher of Apple Daily Jimmy Lai was arrested, while in the Philippines, Editor Maria Ressa faces spurious charges.

SANEF, SAEF and TAEF stand in solidarity with the World Association of News Publishers, the World Editors’ Forum and CPJ in condemning all these abuses perpetrated against journalists.

Note to Editors: The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) is a non-profit organisation whose members are editors, senior journalists and journalism trainers from all areas of the South African media.

The Southern African Editors’ Forum (SAEF) organises editors and senior journalists across Southern Africa.

The African Editors’ Forum (TAEF) organises editors and senior journalists across Africa.

For more information please contact:

Jovial Rantao – TAEF Chairperson (082) 446-6008

Willie Mponda – SAEF Chairperson + 263 7 12718043

Sbu Ngalwa – SANEF Chairperson (073) 404-1415

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