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Zim's state-owned newspaper editor arrested

20 June 2014, 13:15

Harare - Zimbabwe police on Thursday arrested the editor-in-chief of state-owned weekly newspaper The Sunday Mail, despite pledges by the government to repeal tough media laws.

Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi managed to escape police at his office, but was detained later in the day, an employee of the newspaper and police said.

"He was alerted ... and sneaked out just before police arrived," the employee, who did not want his name published, said.

"Kudzayi was picked up by police in town and he has yet to have charges laid against him," said a police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Kudzayi was appointed editor following last year's elections, which President Robert Mugabe - in power since 1987 - won with a large majority.

Mugabe has criticised Information Minister Jonathan Moyo for appointing former critics of his Zanu-PF party to lead state-owned media houses.

They include The Sunday Mail's Kudzayi and Mduduzi Mathuthu, who edits its sister publication, The Chronicle.

Both were based in Britain before the elections. Also on Thursday, police confirmed reports of break-ins at Mathuthu's residence and Kudzayi's office before he was arrested.

"What on the face of it looked like straightforward break-in at my house is now assuming a sinister look," Mathuthu tweeted after learning that Kudzayi's offices had also been broken into.

In 2002, Mugabe and Moyo crafted tough media laws that resulted in a massive crackdown on Zimbabwe's independent media.

The government has since indicated it wants to repeal or amend some of the laws in line with a new constitution which was enacted last year.



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