New Zealand journalist arrested in Zimbabwe

April 20, 2012 9:00 am


Journalist being harassed by policemen/AFP
HARARE, Apr 20 – Zimbabwean police have arrested a journalist from New Zealand for reporting from the southern African country without accreditation, state media reported Friday.

Hammond Robin Nicholas, 37, was arrested on Monday together with a Zimbabwean charity worker, Bertha Chiguvare, 31, in the border town of Beitbridge, 580 kilometres (360 miles) south of Harare.

The two were allegedly working on a story about “irregular” migration between Zimbabwe and its neighbour South Africa without accreditation.

“They misrepresented to the department of immigration that they were on holiday,” police superintendent Lawrence Chinhengo told The Herald newspaper.

“In fact they were on a mission to investigate how illegal immigrants manage to cross to South Africa.”

They were charged with violating “Protected Areas and Places and Immigration Acts” and would appear in court on Friday.

According to the paper, Nicholas, a Cape Town resident, told police that he was a teacher and photographer while Chiguvare works for Save the Children in South Africa.

Video and digital cameras as well as a voice recorder with excerpts of an interview were found in their possession.

Nicholas was once arrested in Zimbabwe for a similar offence, Chinhengo said.

The media in Zimbabwe is tightly regulated and journalists are not allowed to work in the country without accreditation.

Several local journalists were arrested last year on various charges that included defamation.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a long-time rival of President Robert Mugabe, has vowed to abolish the country’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which bans foreign journalists from working permanently in the country.


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