The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) has supported an urgent call by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) for Zimbabwean authorities to free Moyo, a freelance journalist for the New York Times.
Moyo was arrested on May 26 in Harare, and charged with violating Section 36 of the Immigration Act for allegedly misrepresentating to officials about the accreditation status of Goldbaum and Silva, according to the CPJ, which spoke to Moyo’s lawyer, Doug Coltart in Zimbabwe.
The two New York Times journalists arrived in the country from South Africa on May 5, and were deported three days later, allegedly because they did not have proper accreditation from the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, said that Moyo should never have been detained, let alone charged. “The fact that he was arrested, and his New York Times colleagues forced to leave the country, shows that Zimbabwe continues to violate the right to press freedom and the public’s right to know,” she said.
The CPJ reported that the New York Times was assisting Moyo’s lawyers to secure his release. “Jeffrey is a widely respected journalist with many years of reporting experience in Zimbabwe and his detainment raises troubling questions about the state of press freedom in Zimbabwe,” said New York Times spokesperson Nicole Taylor.
Moyo also freelances for Canada’s Globe and Mail newspaper and Norway’s Bistandsaktuelt.
Silva is an acclaimed South African photojournalist who has been working for the New York Times for several years.
Moyo has been incarcerated at a Bulawayo prison over the weekend pending a bail application ruling due on Monday, according to reports. He had been transferred from Harare to appear in a Bulawayo magistrate’s court with a co-accused, Zimbabwe Media Commission official Thabang Manhika.
In a statement posted on Facebook and emailed to CPJ after publication, the Zimbabwe Media Commission alleged that two individuals “claiming to be New York Times reporters” had been deported after having obtained “forged” accreditation from “a properly accredited local reporter for the same New York Times with the alleged collusion of a ZMC member of staff.”