Zimbabwe private radio boss remanded to March

HARARE - The executive director of Zimbabwe's Voice of the People broadcasting firm, John Masuku, arrested late last year for allegedly breaching the country's tough broadcasting laws was on Friday further remanded to March. Masuku, who last year spent four days in jail without appearing in court, i

s out on a Z$4 million bail. It was not immediately clear whether Masuku, who must report to the police every Friday as part of his bail conditions, will be given a trial date when he next appears in court on the 30th of March. His lawyer, Hope Ngara, of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said: “Masuku still has to report to the police every Friday as part of his bail conditions. He will appear in court on March 30. We have not strategised on the way forward yet. We hope to be able to do that after we get a trial date.” The police raided the VOP offices last December in a fresh crackdown against the media and arrested three of the broadcaster’s journalists. They also confiscated equipment and documents while the three VOP journalists were locked up in police cells without charge for four days. The journalists, Maria Nyanyiwa, Nyasha Bosha and Kundai Mugwanda, were only released after Masuku surrendered himself to the police. VOP Radio broadcasts into Zimbabwe from a transmitter in Madagascar, which is operated by Radio Netherlands. VOP has been broadcasting from Madagascar since its Zimbabwe studios were destroyed in August 2002. – ZimOnline

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