Nieman News

Honorable Robert Mugabe
President of Zimbabwe
State House
Harare, Zimbabwe

Dear Mr. President,

You once represented hope and freedom to people not only in Africa but around the world. Now millions everywhere are watching the case of two Zimbabwean journalists as a test of your continued commitment to those ideals.

We want to express our extreme dismay and disappointment over the unlawful detention, torture and pending trial of Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto of The Standard, a weekly newspaper based in Harare. As Nieman Fellows at Harvard University, we represent news organizations from around the globe and are honored to have Chavunduka among our group of fellows.

We strongly oppose the January imprisonment of these two dedicated journalists in retaliation for their reporting. We abhor the use of torture to extract names of sources and to suppress free speech. People everywhere consider the attacks against the two men as an attack against free speech and, as such, an attack against us all.

As individuals who passionately believe in the sanctity of free speech, we urge you to drop all charges against Chavunduka and Choto. We further implore you to promptly investigate the documented physical abuse of the two men at the hands of your country‚s security forces.

We urge you to exercise statesmanship and show your commitment to democratic values by dismissing the specious charges against these two journalists. In the eyes of the world, they are a symbol of your commitment to human rights and democracy.


Dennis Cruywagen
Deputy editor, The Pretoria News

Nikola Djuric
Owner, City Radio, Nis, Serbia

Ragip Duran Correspondent, La Liberation, Istanbul

Carol Eisenberg
Reporter, Newsday, New York USA

Benjamin Fernandez
News director, Canal 9, Asuncion, Paraguay

Aytul Gurtas
Italian News Agency, Ankara, Turkey

Andreas Harsono
Freelance journalist, Jakarta, Indonesia

Tatsuya Inose
Program director, NHK, Tokyo, Japan

Mojgan Jalali
Editor, Iran News, Tehran, Iran

Rakesh Kalshian
Correspondent, Outlook, New Delhi

Bill Krueger
Reporter, The News & Observer, Raleigh, USA

Lee Kwangchool
Deputy editor, Korean Broadcasting System, Seoul, Korea

Laura Lynch
Reporter, CBC, Vancouver, Canada

Mary Kay Magistad
China correspondent, NPR, USA

Patrick McDonnell
Reporter, Los Angeles Times, USA

David Molpus
Correspondent, NPR, Chapel Hill, USA

Jim Morrill
Reporter, The Charlotte Observer, USA

Lori Olszewski
Reporter, The San Francisco Chronicle, USA

Deborah Schoch
Reporter, The Los Angeles Times, USA

Stephen Smith
Reporter, The Miami Herald, USA

Thrity Umrigar
Reporter, Akron Beacon-Journal, USA

Michael Williams
Columnist, Richmond Times-Dispatch, USA

Jerry Zremski
Washington correspondent, The Buffalo News, USA

(All of the Class of 2000 except Mark Chavunduka signed the letter)

Show comments / Leave a comment