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Editors have slammed Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe for arresting and harassing journalists in that country.
The strongly-worded resolution adopted by the board of the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) at its congress in Cape Town yesterday comes at the same time that ANC deputy president Jacob Zuma defended South Africa's approach to the crisis in Zimbabwe. Zuma was answering tough questions on Zimbabwe from editors at a lunch organised by the World Editors Forum.
The WAN resolution states the board "strongly condemns the continuing harassment, forceful arrest and detention of journalists and repressive government policy against a free press in Zimbabwe".
"The recurring violations of journalists' basic rights and the complete disregard for the rule of law of the Zimbabwean leadership and law enforcement agencies are unacceptable.
"WAN is also alarmed by the assaults against human rights lawyers representing journalists in court," it states.
The WAN board states that it is "appalled" by the "abduction and murder" of Zimbabwe state broadcaster cameraman, Edward Chikombo, on March 29, possibly linked to footage of police brutality against opposition activists leaked earlier that month.