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Tuesday, 30 April, 2002, 12:48 GMT 13:48 UK
Reporters held over 'beheading' story
Bombed Daily News printing press
The Daily News printing press was bombed in 2001
Two reporters from Zimbabwe's only privately-owned newspaper, the Daily News, have been arrested.

The paper says reporters Lloyd Mudiwa and Collin Chiwanza were picked up by police over reports carried by the Daily News last week that a woman had been beheaded by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

The arrest comes two weeks after the Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota was briefly detained in connection with a story alleging that the March election results were falsified.

Mr Nyarota has been charged with publishing false information under a new act which imposes tight control over the media.

Public apology

Police have not commented on the latest arrests.

The Daily News says they are related to murder allegations carried in the paper's 23 April edition.

Geoff Nyarota
Nyarota has been arrested five times in three years
The paper's lead story said that a 53-year-old woman had been beheaded in the northern town of Magunje in front of her two daughters, citing a report by the woman's husband.

The report blamed supporters of President Mugabe's Zanu-PF.

But last Saturday the Daily News said it had doubts about the alleged murder, after failing to locate the woman's grave.

The editor, Geoff Nyarota, said it appeared the newspaper had been misled by the husband. "Until... Tadyanemhandu's grave is located and positively identified, we are left with no option but to... tender our most profound apologies to Zanu-PF, whose image was tarnished by the report in question," Mr Nyarota said.

Jail threat

Mr Nyarota's arrest earlier this month was connected with a story accusing the man in charge of announcing election results, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, of manipulating the count.

Mr Mudede denies the accusation.

President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe signed a new media law in March
Mr Nyarota, for his part, contests the charge. He faces a maximum sentence of two years in prison or a fine of $1,800 if found guilty of falsifying and fabricating information.

Mr Nyarota has been arrested several times since the Daily News was launched in 1999.

The paper's printing press and main office were both bombed last year.

Under the media law Mr Mugabe signed shortly after his re-election, the activities of independent and foreign news media are curbed, and criticism of the president is a criminal act.

See also:

15 Apr 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe journalist arrested
31 Mar 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe releases journalist
15 Mar 02 | Africa
Zimbabwe enacts media curbs
19 Feb 02 | Africa
Journalist urges more pressure
09 Nov 01 | Africa
Zimbabwe editor walks free
01 Feb 02 | Africa
Media rounds on Zimbabwe law
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