The editor of the Daily News, Nqobile Nyathi, was arrested, charged and released on 26 June 2003 for publishing adverts insulting President Robert Mugabe.
Nyathi was charged under the Public Order and Security Act for publishing adverts by the Movement for Democratic Change which showed a cartoon character of Mugabe being chased by a crowd led by a cartoon character of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Part of the wording of the advert read: “Do you recognise him: Thief! Thief! Thief!”
Viewing cable 03HARARE1373, MEDIA REPORT EDITOR CHARGED UNDER POSA; HARARE
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
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SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT EDITOR CHARGED UNDER POSA; HARARE
¶1. Nqobile Nyathi, Editor of the independent daily
“The Daily News,” was arrested, charged and released
on June 26 under the controversial Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) for allegedly publishing adverts
insulting Robert Mugabe. The ostensibly illicit
adverts were placed in the newspaper by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
They show a cartoon character of Robert Mugabe being
chased by a crowd led by a cartoon character of MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai. Part of the wording of
the advert reads: “Do you recognize him: Thief!
Thief! Thief!” Under Section 16 of POSA it is an
offense to “publicly and intentionally make any
false statement about or concerning the President. .
. .” The charge carries a fine of Z$100 000 or five
years imprisonment or both. Nyathi becomes the
third editor to be charged under POSA in June.
¶2. On June 11 this year Francis Mdlongwa, the
Editor-in-Chief of the Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ), publishers of “The Daily News”, was
also charged for publishing a mutinous advert
inserted by a group of Zimbabweans who said “they
were carrying out a mock trial of Mugabe,” when he
edited the independent weekly “The Financial
Gazette” in 2002. Bill Said, Editor of the ANZ
independent weekly “The Daily News on Sunday,” was
also charged on June 24 for allegedly publishing a
false story last year when he was assistant editor
of “The Daily News.”