The Zimbabwe Media Commission has commented on the deportation of two New York Times reporters saying the journalists were not accredited by the commission.
Meanwhile, New York Times’ Zimbabwean correspondent, Jeffrey Moyo is in detention for allegedly facilitating an unlawful reporting trip for the two foreign journalists from the US-based newspaper who were eventually deported.
Moyo is said to have secured fake accreditation cards for his colleagues from the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) after conniving with an official from the regulatory body Thabang Farai Manhika, who is also in custody. Pindula News presents the commission’s statement in full below.
ZMC RESPONSE TO THE DEPORTATION OF TWO ALLEGED NEW YORK TIMES REPORTERSOn May 10 2021, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) learnt of the deportation from Zimbabwe of a man and a woman claiming to be New York Times reporters carrying forged accreditation cards and receipts which they reportedly alleged had been obtained on their behalf by a properly accredited local reporter for the same New York Times with the alleged collusion of a ZMC member of staff
Preliminary investigations established the following facts:
- The two individuals had not visited the ZMC offices and their names do not appear in the ZMC register of accredited journalists.
- The accreditation card numbers and receipts representing proof of payment for accreditation they produced were clear forgeries.
- Prior to their arrival the two individuals as per legal requirement for foreign journalists had applied for clearance to work in the country but the responsible authorities had denied their application. However, the two had proceeded to come to the country anyway.
- The presentation of forged accreditation cards only added to the irregularity of alleged illegal entry.
- The ZMC staffer implicated in the illegality is currently helping law enforcement authorities with investigations and has been sent on leave to enable investigations to establish all the facts.The ZMC would like to assure its stakeholders, clients and interested parties that its day to day operations are guided by provisions of the law. The Commission does its work in a transparent and accountable manner. The fact that the fraudulent accreditation cards were quickly identified by immigration officers and confirmed as fraudulent by the ZMC is testimony of the professional and secure manner in which the ZMC conducts the accreditation.It is one of the strategic objectives of the Commission to provide a conducive working environment for both local and visiting media practitioners. At the same time, the Commission calls upon media practitioners, both local and foreign, to respect laws of the country.
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