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Nyarota sues The Patriot

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INFORMATION and Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) chairman and former Daily News editor Geoffrey Nyarota has issued a letter of demand to The Patriot claiming defamation damages to the tune of $2 million after the newspaper published an article he says is offensive.

Staff Reporter

The alleged defamatory article, titled Breaking through the nexus of terror, deprivation and escape, was written by Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) chief executive Tafataona Mahoso and published in The Patriot of September 19 2014.

Nyarota’s lawyers, Wilmot & Bennett say that Mahoso linked their client to a story that was published by The Business Daily of April 28 2003 under the title Africa fears losing aid to post-war Iraq.

His lawyers say their client never wrote the cited article and at that time he had left the Daily News and was in the United States studying.

The lawyers further claimed that in the article, The Patriot published a photograph of Nyarota which was captioned, Geofrey Nyarota was the editor of the Daily News, who wished the attack on Iraq would be replicated in Zimbabwe.

They argue that the caption was defamatory.

Wilmot & Bennett say: “As a matter of fact, the offending article was never published in the Daily News. The Business Daily which published it is a Kenyan business newspaper.

“Our client was not the editor of the Daily News in April 2003. At that time he was in the third month of his tenure as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University in the United States of America.”

The lawyers say their client was never afforded the opportunity to defend himself against the serious and malicious allegations or give his side of the story as journalism ethics demand. Nyarota says the malicious damage against his reputation was being motivated by Mahoso’s dislike of Impi which he assumed had usurped his commission’s powers.

Nyarota cited The Patriot editor Professor Charles Pfukwa, Mahoso and Heritage Printers, the publishers of The Patriot, as respondents.

No comment could be immediately obtained from Pfukwa or Mahoso at the time of going to print last night.

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