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Zimbabwe court frees journalists
Two editors charged with publishing false material are released on bail.
Last Modified: 12 May 2009 15:33 GMT

Two senior Zimbabwean journalists detained on charges of publishing false material have been released, a lawyer representing them has said.

Vincent Kahika, the editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, and Constantine Chimakure, the news editor, were released on bail on Tuesday, Innocent Chagonda, their lawyer, said.

Zimbabwean police arrested the two on Monday on charges of publishing statements which were "wholly or materially false with the intention of lowering public confidence in law enforcement agencies", Chagonda said.

The statements were included in an article about the alleged abductions of activists and supporters of Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's prime minister.

Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe, the country's president, formed a unity government in February after months of political wrangling.

But frequent arrests of activists from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have raised doubts about the future of the new administration.

Demand for reform

Analysts say they fear any political crisis could delay efforts to rebuild Zimbabwe's ruined economy.

Donors are demanding that the country's new unity government carry out political and media reforms before they can disburse money for Zimbabwe's economic recovery programme.

Zimbabwean journalists want the unity government to scrap media laws, which critics say Mugabe has used to muzzle his opponents.

Mugabe's party, the Zanu-PF, adopted regulations seven years ago imposing registration conditions for private news organisations.

They also bar foreign journalists from working in the country and authorise almost routine arrests of journalists accused of reporting "falsehoods".

Source:
Agencies
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