Zimbabwe arrests journalist over report Grace Mugabe gave used underwear to supporters

In this Sept. 1, file photo Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe addresses party supporters at a rally in Gweru, Zimbabwe. (AP)
Updated 04 October 2017
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Zimbabwe arrests journalist over report Grace Mugabe gave used underwear to supporters

HARARE: Zimbabwe police have arrested a journalist at a privately-owned daily over a story claiming that President Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace had donated second-hand underwear to supporters, lawyers said Tuesday.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said that Kenneth Nyangani, a NewsDay journalist, was arrested on Monday night “for allegedly writing and publishing a story over the donation of some used undergarments by First Lady Grace Mugabe.”
Nyangani was being detained in the eastern city of Mutare and is likely to face “criminal defamation” charges, the organization said in a statement. He is yet to appear in court.
The NewsDay on Monday reported that a ruling Zanu-PF lawmaker, Esau Mupfumi had over the weekend handed out clothes saying they were donated by Grace Mugabe.
“I met the First Lady Grace Mugabe and I was given these clothes so that I can give you. I have briefs for you and I am told that most of your briefs are not in good shape, please come and collect your allocations today,” the NewsDay quoted Mupfumi as saying.
“We have night dresses, sandals and clothes, come and take, this is from your First Lady Grace Mugabe.”
Zimbabwe’s worsening economic crisis has forced many people to resort to buying second-hand clothes which are more affordable.
The used clothes that include undergarments are mostly imported from Mozambique after being shipped from Western nations.
Zimbabwe once banned the sale of second-hand clothes in 2015 but later lifted the ban.
The southern African country is facing money shortages and high unemployment blamed on long ruling President Robert Mugabe economic policies.
Amnesty International has called for Nyangani’s unconditional release, saying his arrest aimed at harassing and intimidating journalists.
“The intention is to send a chilling message to journalists and media workers that they must self-censor rather than expose truths,” it said in a statement.


Times newspaper corrects ‘distorted’ coverage of Muslim foster carers

Updated 26 April 2018
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Times newspaper corrects ‘distorted’ coverage of Muslim foster carers

  • Coverage by The Times said the girl had been forced to live with a “niqab-wearing foster carer”
  • The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) wants The Timesto apologize #for promoting a widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims

LONDON: The Times newspaper has been ordered to correct a front-page story titled “Christian child forced into Muslim foster care,” after a ruling from the UK’s independent press regulator. 

The story, published Aug. 30, 2017, was one of three front-page articles published by the paper that month about a five-year-old Christian girl who was placed with Muslim foster carers in March 2017.

Coverage by The Times said the girl had been forced to live with a “niqab-wearing foster carer” and had been “sobbing and begging” not to be sent back because the carers did not speak English, an allegation that has since proved to be false.

The paper also claimed the carers removed the girl’s crucifix necklace, prevented her from eating bacon and encouraged her to learn Arabic. 

The Independent Press Standards Organization (IPSO) said that The Times’s coverage was “distorted,” after an investigation found the allegations to be unsubstantiated. The investigation was carried out by Tower Hamlets, the local council that had taken the child into care.

Wednesday’s edition of the paper mentioned the ruling on the front page and carried full details on page 2 and online.

3, secretary-general of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), said: “The Times should be forced to apologize for promoting what was widely known to be an inaccurate, misleading and bigoted narrative about Muslims. 

The story aided the hate-filled agenda of far-right extremists such as Britain First and the English Defense League.

“We hope that this front-page note will mark a turning point in the tolerance The Times has shown for anti-Muslim bigotry in its coverage and commentary.”

Miqdaad Versi, who heads the MCB’s work on media representation of Muslims, said: “While IPSO’s ruling on this shameful incidence of anti-Muslim reporting is welcome, their response thus far has been too little, too late.

“There needs to be a fundamental review to ensure this never happens again.”