New York Times correspondent must answer to false accreditation charges, Zim court rules

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Jeffrey Moyo
Jeffrey Moyo
The New York Times
  • Journalist Jeffrey Moyo will take the stand on 28 April on charges of violating the Immigration Act.
  • Moyo's co-accused was acquitted last week.
  • The Committee to Protect Journalists says the case is meant to intimidate the independent press in Zimbabwe.
  • If found guilty, Moyo faces up to 10 years in prison.

A magistrate in Zimbabwe's second largest city Bulawayo on Tuesday ruled that New York Times correspondent Jeffrey Moyo had a case to answer on charges of allegedly helping journalists to gain false accreditation.

Regional Magistrate Mark Dzira said the State had enough evidence to go ahead with the trial on 28 April.

Moyo, 37, had applied for discharge in a case where he faces charges of allegedly helping South Africa-based New York Times reporters Christina Goldbaum and Joao Silva to gain false accreditation. The State alleges that Moyo did this with the help of Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) official Thabang Manhika.

Upon arrival into the country, Goldbaum and Silva were deported, which led to the arrest of Moyo and Manhika on 26 May 2021.

Angela Quintal, the Committee to Protect Journalists' (CPJ) Africa programme coordinator, said Moyo's case was a clear indication that the state was on a path to intimidate the independent media in Zimbabwe.

READ | New York Times freelancer pleads not guilty to 'smuggling' journalists into Zimbabwe

"The decision to deny the defence's application to dismiss the case is doubly troubling as Moyo's co-accused was acquitted in a separate trial last week, and simply reinforces perceptions that the case is being used to intimidate the independent press in Zimbabwe," she said.

In January, Moyo applied for a separation of trial while Manhika raised concerns about the charges he was facing. The State failed to amend Manhika's charges, and he was then acquitted by magistrate Dzira.

At the closure of his case, Dzira told journalists "it is unfortunate that the case took a lot of resources and wasted my time".

Moyo faces at least 10 years in prison if convicted under the Immigration Act.

The News24 Africa Desk is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The stories produced through the Africa Desk and the opinions and statements that may be contained herein do not reflect those of the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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