Journalists acquitted of breaching COVID-19 regulations

Journalists acquitted of breaching COVID-19 regulations

Freelance journalists Frank Chikowore and Samuel Takawira were on 10 September 2020 acquitted on charges of breaching the COVID-19 regulations by Mbare Magistrate Kudzai Hove.

On 1 September 2020 their lawyer, Paidamoyo Saurombe, who was representing Chikowore and Takawira, applied for their discharge saying the State had failed to prove its case against the journalists.

The journalists were on bail on charges of breaching Section 11 (b) of Statutory Instrument 83 of 2020 in terms of the COVID-19 regulations by allegedly disobeying a lawful order from a police officer.

Read: Journalists apply for discharge on charges of breaching COVID-19 regulations

Read: Journalists charged under COVID-19 regulations granted bail

The State was alleging they had refused to obey an order by a police officer to maintain social distancing as per the lockdown regulations.

They were arrested at Parktown Clinic in Harare’s Waterfalls suburb on 22 May 2020, where three female MDC Alliance officials, that include Member of Parliament for Harare West Joanna Mamombe, were being treated following their alleged abduction and torture after staging a demonstration in Warren Park, Harare.

Chikowore and Takawira had reportedly gone to the clinic to interview the three MDC Alliance officials resulting in their arrest.

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The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe was founded in 1996. 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.