On May 28, Zimbabwean and IPS journalist Jeffrey Moyo was arrested for allegedly violating Section 36 of the Zimbabwean Immigration Act. Photo credit: Busani Bafana / IPSBULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, June 01 (IPS) – As international correspondent Jeffrey Moyo was denied bail for allegedly violating a section of Zimbabwean immigration law by helping two foreign journalists without proper media accreditation Working in the country, local organizations have called for his release and a fair trial.
Moyo, 37, a correspondent for the Inter Press Service (IPS), the New York Times and other media outlets, was arrested in Harare on May 27 and is in Bulawayo Prison.
Bulawayo magistrate Rachel Mkanga denied Moyo’s bail request yesterday, May 31, stating that Moyo was viewed as a threat to national security and that Zimbabwe’s sovereignty was at stake.
Moyo has been charged with violating Section 36 of the Immigration Act, which is largely based on allegations that he provided false information to immigration authorities. This involves the accreditation of two of his colleagues, Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva from the New York Times.
Goldbaum and Silva arrived in Zimbabwe on May 5th and were deported on May 8th for not having proper accreditation with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the country’s media regulator.
“The state’s case is weak and they know it, so the deportees want the most important witnesses and want to deal with the locals and set an example for them not to jeopardize security concerns,” said Tabani Moyo, executive director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe, told IPS.
“Jeff needs a fair trial so that we don’t end up in a situation where the law is used as a weapon against the media,” said Tabani Moyo, adding, “We are not surprised at the turn of events since the The state employs several strategies to “intimidate, depending on how irritated it is, not about the media but about its international relations.”
In a statement released on Friday, May 28, the ZMC said it was aware of the deportation of “a man and woman who claimed to be New York Times reporters with fake accreditation cards and receipts whom they claimed were received on their side “learned on behalf of Jeffrey Moyo, then a duly accredited local reporter from the same New York Times”.
The ZMC said the New York Times journalists did not visit the ZMC offices despite writing to the relevant authorities to obtain the necessary permits before they could work as a temporary journalist on site. The responsible authorities had refused Goldbaum and Silva the prior release.
The state media agency also alleged that Moyo had recognized irregularities in the accreditation and reportedly “personally reached out to a ZMC employee who allegedly also agreed to cooperate with Moyo and his now deported colleagues”. The ZMC employee was also arrested.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe said Jeffrey Moyo must be given a fair deal and his case should not be a case of using the law “as a weapon against the media.” Photo credit: Busani Bafana / IP. The award-winning, internationally recognized journalist and documentary filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono told IPS via the What’s app that Moyo’s arrest was an abuse of state institutions.
“Jeffery’s arrest is again an abuse of state institutions because the person who committed the crime is a person who works for the ZMC and not Jeffrey who was the recipient of something that was done wrong and at least be a state should.” Witness, but he’s the one who is in jail, “Chin’ono told IPS, referring to a ZMC employee.
During 2020 and earlier this year, Chin’ono, a critic of the current government, was arrested three times by the Zimbabwean police. His arrest made international headlines.
“In Zimbabwe there is no freedom of expression to practice journalism as long as you report against the political elite and Zanu PF is in power …. Zanu PF will continue to use state institutions to target journalists while she is in power persecute and other citizens for simply doing what is constitutional. ”
Meanwhile, Moyo’s attorney said they would appeal the bail hearing.
“We are resolutely disagreeing with this and all of the grounds on which the court relied to refuse his bail release and are currently preparing an appeal which will be filed as soon as we can receive the district court’s procedural record,” said Moyo’s attorney Doug Coltart telephoned IPS yesterday.
“The main reason the court relied on was that he posed an escape risk and would likely flee to court, and that weird reason that has no legal basis, that he posed a threat to national security and that the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is at stake because the international journalists interviewed Zimbabwean people without the information ministry knowing, ”said Coltart.
Coltart said Moyo’s wife was not allowed to visit him and that his detention conditions were pathetic.
“He’s fine and he’s still mentally strong, the conditions in the prison are still bad,” said Coltart, emphasizing that Moyo had to share a blanket with one of the other inmates and was prevented from accessing reading materials.
“They denied him access to his wife, and most importantly, he was actually beaten, I believe, by one of the prison’s medical staff. We intend to file a complaint about this, ”said Coltart.
“We are focused on getting him out on bail, but we definitely intend to lodge a complaint about the inhumane conditions in the prison.”
If convicted, Moyo faces up to 10 years in prison.
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