Zimbabwe Police Arrest Fourth Journalist in Week, Herald Says

  • Takunda Maodza detained on charges of taking a bribe
  • Amnesty International says arrests have `chilling effect'

Zimbabwean police arrested Takunda Maodza, the assistant news editor at the Herald, on accusations that he took a bribe, the state-controlled newspaper reported.

Maodza became the fourth reporter detained by police this week. He was investigating alleged business links of former Vice President Joice Mujuru, who was expelled from President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party last year, the Herald said Wednesday.

Maodza’s arrest late Tuesday followed the jailing of three Sunday Mail journalists on charges that they published “falsehoods” in a story that said Zimbabwean police were part of a criminal syndicate slaughtering elephants for their tusks in Hwange National Park. The Herald and the Sunday Mail belong to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers Ltd.

Amnesty International said on Tuesday that the arrests of the three Sunday Mail reporters marked the latest attempt to intimidate the media in Zimbabwe and could have a "chilling effect" that will discourage investigations about officials who break the law.

Harare Central Police Station and police spokeswoman Charity Charamba didn’t answer calls seeking comment.

— With assistance by Karl Maier

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