HARARE – Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) — publishers of the market-leading Daily News, the Daily News on Sunday and the Weekend Post — have filed papers to defend a $1 million defamation lawsuit that model Tafadzwa Mushunje is launching against the company.
Mushunje’s legal action against ANZ follows the publication by the Daily News and other local media last month of formal State charges against her to the effect that she had allegedly infected her lover’s son with HIV — charges that were later withdrawn.
It is Mushunje’s contention that the Daily News’ reportage on the charges and court case, as accurate as this was, allegedly caused her damage to her reputation and dignity — necessitating recompense to the staggering tune of $1 million.
It could not be established yesterday whether Mushunje is also suing all the other media houses that reported on her case, and whether she is also suing the State that preferred the charges against her.
ANZ Group Editor Stanley Gama said Mushunje’s legal action was “surprising” given that court documents and proceedings, unless these are specifically prescribed by presiding officers, are public documents and occasions.
“This is the reason why we are rather flummoxed by the action, even as we respect her right to take this action. Of course, we will defend ourselves vigorously, and are happy to have this potentially epoch-making case mediated by the courts, as our report was not only fair but also accurately captured the State’s claims,” he said.