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Journalist charged for communicating falsehoods

1 Dec, 2022

What happened

NewZimbabwe.com journalist Leopold Munhende was on 28 November 2022 charged for publishing falsehoods in a story that the online platform published on 21 September 2022.

Munhende was charged for contravening Section 31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.  He is accused of communicating falsehoods prejudicial to the State.

The police said they charged Munhende in his capacity as the editor of the publication. However, the law enforcement agents were informed that Munhende was in fact not the NewZimbabwe.com editor, they insisted on charging him for the crime.

MISA Zimbabwe deployed lawyer Chris Mhike to represent the stricken journalist.

The police specifically allege that Munhende published an article on NewZimbabwe.com that Mnangagwa had fled protesting Zimbabweans in New York. The article said dozens of aides had to shield the Zanu PF leader at the airport.

The police said Munhende knew or realised that there was a real risk or possibility that his actions or words may adversely affect the defence or economic interests of Zimbabwe.

In the warned and cautioned statement, Mundende denied the allegations, and questioned why the police arrested and charged him when he was neither the author of the article, publisher nor the editor of NewZimbabwe.com.

Munhende was released at 17:15 hours, after about five hours of interrogation.

MISA's position

About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.

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Those affected:
NewZimbabwe.com journalist Leopold Munhende
Number affected:
Police Officers
Types of actors: