Journalists arrested over story about Robert Mugabe’s health

Reporters Without Borders is calling for charges to be dropped

Journalists arrested over story about Robert Mugabe’s health

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is seen upon arrival at parliament in Harare in 2016 | Image: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP/Press Association Images

Three reporters have been arrested in Zimbabwe for running a story about President Robert Mugabe’s health.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) say the three are senior members of the newspaper NewsDay, based in Harare.

It says they are being held on a charge of insulting President Mugabe. The body is urging the authorities to drop the charges against them.

The arrests came a day after the newspaper ran a story about reasons for President Mugabe’s trip to Singapore for a medical examination.

The report quoted sources as saying it was not just because of his advanced age, but also because he has prostate cancer.

Mr Mugabe is 93-years-old.

Charges have also been brought against the company that owns NewsDay, Alpha Media Holdings.

The journalists' lawyer said they were being held at police headquarters and are set to appear in court.

They are facing a possible one-year jail sentence under a section of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act - which concerns undermining or insulting the office of the president.

This was deemed unconstitutional by the country’s Supreme Court in 2013 because it violated freedom of expression.

RSF say it has not been used to convict anyone, but it is still used as grounds for arrest.

Zimbabwe is ranked 124th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom.