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Photographer's $20billion penalty

A Reuters photographer working in Zimbabwe has been fined 20 billion Zimbabwe dollars for contravening the country’s broadcasting act reports Zimbabwejournalists.com.

Howard Burditt was also sentenced to two months in prison, suspended for five years on the condition he did not repeat the offence.

Burditt was arrested in Harare on 5 May 2008 and spent three nights in custody when he was found in possession of a satellite phone.

He subsequently appeared before the court and pleaded guilty to the charge of contravening section 27 (1) of the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) which outlaws unauthorised possession, establishment and operation of signal transmitting stations.

The Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) had licensed Reuters to cover the Zimbabwean elections, and it was specified in the contract that they were not to use ‘big’ machines like satellite phones in their broadcasting.

20 Billion Zimbabwe dollars is roughly equivalent to £15 GBP.

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