Durban - Zimbabwean journalist Jeffrey Moyo, a freelancer for the New York Times has been denied bail by a Bulawayo court. He was arrested for allegedly misrepresenting the media accreditation status of his two South-African based colleagues.
Moyo, who is based in Harare but was moved to Bulawayo for the bail hearing, was arrested last Wednesday after allegedly obtaining forged accreditation for colleagues, Joao Silva and Christina Goldbaum.
While Silva and Goldbaum were deported back to South Africa, Moyo was charged and detained.
On Monday, he appeared in court and was denied bail, his lawyer, Doug Coltart told IOL.
“We will now appeal,” Coltart said.
Speaking to the New York Times before his bail application, Coltart said Moyo was being held in harsh conditions.
“Most of his clothes were taken away. He was on a cold, hard concrete floor, crammed into a cell with 18 others.”
Coltart said Moyo was being detained because prosecutors objected on the grounds that the matter was “a national security issue, because foreign journalists came into the country without the knowledge of the Ministry of Information”.
Such an accusation was not in the police report on Moyo, Coltart told the New York Times, adding: “That’s when I realised this case is getting highly politicised.”
The South African National Editors’ Forum and the Committee to Protect Journalist have called for Moyo’s release.
“The deportation and arrests raise the alarm about ongoing media freedom violations in Zimbabwe… Sanef also notes with concern the statement by the Zim Human Rights NGO Forum which, in marking World Press Freedom Day on May 3, noted that there had been seven attacks on journalists by state security agents in Zimbabwe this year. In 2020, 52 cases of attacks on journalists were recorded,” Sanef said.