Incarcerated investigative journalist Hopewell Chin’ono has declined to disclose the identity of his sources in court, after his second arrest on allegations of tweeting in contravention to his bail conditions from an earlier charge.
The court had demanded to know his sources, but Chin’ono told the bench that exposing sources is unethical; it undermines journalistic integrity.
In one of the tweets that landed him in trouble Chin’ono had said:
“As I told you last night after my NPA sources had briefed me, the NPA led by Prosecutor General Kumbirai Hodzi who is reported to be close to Henrietta Rushwaya did not oppose bail.”
And the court wanted to know who his NPA sources were, but he refused to disclose their identity.
Meanwhile, journalists rely on source protection to gather and reveal information in the public interest from confidential sources.
Some sources may request anonymity to protect them from being victimised ie physical, economic or professional reprisals in response to their revelations.
Meanwhile, it is generally accepted that a journalist’s commitment to protect the anonymity of confidential sources and whistleblowers should only be breached in the most exceptional circumstances.