NewsDay cleared in two cases

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The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) media complaints council (MCC) has dismissed two complaints against NewsDay saying the paper did no breach its code of conduct.

In the first case, the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) had complained to the VMCZ after the paper carried a story headlined Gays and lesbians angry at Mugabe in April last year.

The story was based on a Galz statement released after President Robert Mugabe attacked homosexuals at the burial of Central Intelligence Organisation deputy director general Mernard Muzariri describing them as filthy.

Galz said it was not happy with the use of the anger, which was in the headline for the story.

The Media Complaints Committee in assessing the case resolved that headlines are cast from the body of the story and they can be a summary reflection of the whole story, without actually using exact words contained in the Press statement, read a statement signed by the chairman of the committee Retired Justice Leslie George Smith.

The committee gave full and careful consideration to the submissions made and decided that there was no breach of the Code of Conduct on the part of NewsDay.

In a separate case, a Dr Muzondidya filed a complaint against NewsDay and the State-owned The Herald after the two newspapers published pictures of victims of a fire accident in Harares Sunningdale suburb.

A number of people were burnt to death after a fuel tanker burst into flames while they were trying to siphon petrol following an accident.

Muzondidya complained that the publication of the pictures without warning readers of a nervous disposition was morally wrong. Again the MMC dismissed the complaint noting that the use of such pictures was an international phenomenon.

The committee gave full and careful consideration to the submissions made and decided that there was no breach of the Code of Conduct on the part of the NewsDay and The Herald but upheld the view that the media should be sensitive when handling pictures involving disasters and death, the committee said.

In both hearings NewsDay was represented by its Assistant Editor Wisdom Mudzungairi while The Herald did not send a representative.