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Journalists Risk Five-Year Term for Insulting Mugabe

Vice President Joyce Mujuru has signed a law that that could send journalists to prison for up to five years if they are found to have insulted into law an act providing for up to two years in prison for journalists who insults President robert Mugabe.

Gazetted last week, the legislation in a gazette rolled out last week, the government says the act ammends the Public Order and Security Act and other Zimbabwean legislation. The result is that journalists determined to have written falsehoods are will be liable to a fines of up to Z$10 million or five years in prison, or both.

Mujuru signed the legislation in her capacity as acting president, though it could not be determined if this was because Mr. Mugabe was traveling or for another reason.

In another development concerning journalists, High Court Judge Rita Makarau has told the Media and Information Commission to reconsider a decision not to reverse itself on withholding a license to publish from group that owns the Daily News.

The commission issued that ruling despite an order from the supreme court telling it to review an earlier decision not to grant Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, which publishes the Daily News and the Daily News On Sunday, a license to publish.

Reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe asked media and human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa where this leaves Associated Newspapers.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...