National Social Security Authority boss Arthur Manase is said to have reported The NewsHawks to the Commissioner-General of Police Godwin Matanga to urgently deal with its journalists for allegedly defaming, cyberbullying, and harassing him.
According to The NewsHawks, Manase, through his lawyers, reportedly wrote to the Commissioner General saying that The NewsHawks is in violation of the Cyber and Data Protection Act.
The online publication said Manase reportedly claims that he was subjected to cyber bullying, harassment and transmission of false data messages intending to cause harm at the hands of The NewsHawks.
MISA Zimbabwe reiterates its call for all responsible authorities to ensure that media houses and journalists are allowed to operate without hindrances that come in the form of threats or intimidation.
Aggrieved parties should lodge any complaints against the media with the Zimbabwe Media Commission or the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe for redress.
It is also trite to note that criminal defamation was abolished in Zimbabwe after the Constitutional Court found it to be unconstitutional in the case of Madanhire and Anor v The Attorney General 2014 (1) ZLR 719 (CC).
The court held that the criminalisation of speech had a stifling effect on free speech. The court further added that it was a disproportionate instrument to use especially where other remedies were available.
MISA Zimbabwe calls upon the responsible authorities to protect journalists as they conduct their work and implore them to repeal Section 164C of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act as amended by the Cyber and Data Protection Act, which relates to publishing false data messages intending to cause harm. This section instils self-censorship among journalists to the detriment of citizens’ right to access information.
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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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Arthur Manase from the National Social Security Authority