The New Humanitarian Annual Report 2021

  1. Home
  2. Africa
  3. Southern Africa
  4. Zambia

Rights groups intensify protest over media arrests

International human rights groups and journalists’ organisations on Wednesday intensified their protests at the detention of journalists in Zimbabwe.

Amnesty International said it feared for the safety of the two journalists of the ‘Zimbabwe Mirror’ who were detained on Sunday over a story last October on the death of a Zimbabwean soldier in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The two appeared in court on Tuesday and were released on bail.

Amnesty said in a statement it believed the journalists had been detained for exercising their right to freedom of expression.
The international press watchdog, Reporters sans Frontiers (RSF) and the International Union of Journalists also expressed “outrage” at the arrests of the newspaper’s reporter Grace Kwinjeh, and its publisher, Ibbo Mandaza. The former editor, Farai Mungazi and the former managing editor, Fernando Goncalves, were also briefly detained at the weekend.

Sources in the Zimbabwean media told IRIN that Kwinjeh and Mandaza appeared in a Harare magistrate’s court on Tuesday charged under the Law and Order Maintenance Act. They were both released on bail and will appear in the High Court on 1 March. The charge relates to a British colonial era law still on the statutes which prohibits the publishing of a “false report likely to cause fear, alarm, or despondency” among the public.

Meanwhile, the ‘Zimbabwe Independent’ reported that the Immigration Department of Zimbabwe had demanded that local and foreign journalists working for the foreign media should submit their work permits and passports for verification.

Media sources said the move was widely seen as part of the current crackdown on the press by the government of President Robert Mugabe. At least three foreign correspondents based in Zimbabwe told ‘The Independent’ that they had received calls from officials of the Immigration Department demanding that they submit their work permits and passports for scrutiny.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information:

Share this article
Join the discussion

Right now, we’re working with contributors on the ground in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to tell the stories of people enduring and responding to a rapidly evolving humanitarian crisis.

We’re documenting the threats to humanitarian response in the country and providing a platform for those bearing the brunt of the invasion. Our goal is to bring you the truth at a time when disinformation is rampant. 

But while much of the world’s focus may be on Ukraine, we are continuing our reporting on myriad other humanitarian disasters – from Haiti to the Sahel to Afghanistan to Myanmar. We’ve been covering humanitarian crises for more than 25 years, and our journalism has always been free, accessible for all, and – most importantly – balanced. 

You can support our journalism from just $5 a month, and every contribution will go towards our mission. 

Support The New Humanitarian today.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.