via Jailed journalist applies for bail – The Zimbabwean 30 June 2015
The defence representing Chiredzi- based freelance journalist Patrick Chitongo sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for publishing an unregistered newspaper will on 1 July 2015 file an application for bail pending appeal against both conviction and sentence.
Hearing into the bail application will be held before Chiredzi magistrate Tafadzwa Mhlanga.
MISA-Zimbabwe Legal Officer Jacqueline Chikakano will attend the application proceedings to determine the form of support that the organisation can render to the journalist and his family.
He was sentenced to an effective eight months imprisonment following suspension of four months of the sentence on condition that he does not commit a similar offence in the next five years.
Chitongo was convicted for contravening Section 72 (1) of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which states: No person shall carry on or operate a mass media service without a valid registration certificate.
Chitongo was jointly charged with Tafadzwa Mhlanga, Givemore Kadzwida, and Courage Bandera. The four stood accused of collaborating to publish a newspaper that was not registered with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), with a view to selling it.
They proceeded to publish three issues of the unregistered newspaper titled, the Southern Mirror.
However, Chitongo’s co- accused persons were subsequently acquitted after it was established that they were students who did not play any role in the publication of the newspaper.