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Zimbabwe Authorities Prosecute Child Rights Activist & Television Host

Police in Harare arrested Girl Child Network Director Betty Makoni and television personality Rebecca Chisamba on Thursday for allegedly revealing the identities of under-age girls during a television program that aired two months ago.

Chisamba, host of the Zimbabwe state television weekly show “Amai Chisamba,” interviewed Makoni and the young girls about rape in a June 16 broadcast. Sources said the faces of the children were electronically blurred to protect their identities.

Detectives picked up Makoni at her Harare offices and also confiscated files.

Attorney Tafadzwa Mugabe of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said the two women had been charged with violating Section 197 of the Criminal Procedures and Evidence Act. Police took Makoni into custody last week after detaining her and two American documentary film makers making a report on rape in Zimbabwe.

They held Makoni for three days without bringing charges, and the filmmakers were deported to South Africa for allegedly practicing journalism without a license.

Attorney Mugabe told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Makoni’s latest arrest reflects an official campaign to harass and intimidate her.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...