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Independent Media Advocate Charged With Undermining Zimbabwe's Mugabe


Advocacy Officer Tabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe said there seems to be an increase in systematic targeting of pro-democracy groups by elements within the government

Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe Director Andrew Moyse was charged Friday with publishing statements undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe.

Moyse was not detained but made to sign a warned-and-cautioned statement.

Police in Gwanda, Matabeleland South, have accused Moyse of publishing statements denigrating the president, which is a crime under Zimbabwean law.

Early this month, police in Harare raided the monitoring group’s offices searching for allegedly subversive material, briefly detaining the MMPZ director. He was released without charge, but police seized documents, DVDs and videos from his offices.

Three members of his staff are being held in the Gwanda remand prison on charges of distributing what the police says are subversive materials denigrating the president. The three are expected to appear in court on January 5.

Moyse told VOA reporter Violet Gonda the police said they will summon him if they want him to help with their investigations. But he insists he has no case to answer as his organization’s materials are intended promote peace, love and tolerance.

“One hopes that people in authority realize that we need to have peaceful elections, and elections where there is a free media," Moyse said.

“That is all we are talking about in our outreach programs. It’s not trying to promote regime change,” the media advocate said.

Moyse said his arrest reflects the suspicious and tens political climate in the country.

Advocacy Officer Tabani Moyo of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe said there seems to be an increase in systematic targeting of pro-democracy groups by elements within the government amid proliferating calls for early-2012 elections.

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