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Zimbabwe flag (Via cia.gov)

Zimbabwe’s The Sunday Mail apologized and admitted it published a fake interview with politician Roy Bennett, according to the Zimbabwe Daily.

The March 23 article, published in print and online, “Bennett slams Tsvangirai,” is replete with fake quotes, including Bennett calling former Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai “power-hungry” and “strong-handed.”  Bennett also is quoted as saying it was “unprocedural” for another official to be suspended.

Tsvangirai was prime minister of Zimbabwe from 2009 to 2013 and is the president of Zimbabwe opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Bennett was the MDC’s treasurer general but left the MDC party last year.

The article is published on the Zimbabwe Mail’s website. The article claims the quotes were from an “exclusive telephone interview” that the newspaper now allows, through its retraction and apology, that it never occurred.

According to Stanford University’s website on Zimbabwe news, the Sunday Mail is a government newspaper published by Zimbabwe Newspapers Ltd.

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Bennett’s lawyer, Tafadzwa Mugabe, denied that the interview ever happened. Likewise, Bennett said in a radio interview “I never made any comments nor have I done any interviews with anyone, I never have and never will talk to the ZANUPF propaganda machine.”

The Sunday Mail published an apology in its print edition that read, “In the circumstances, The Sunday Mail is retracting the story and apologizing to Mr Bennett for any inconveniences caused by the publication of the story,” according to the Zimbabwe Daily.

The apology goes on to say that a freelancer wrote the article but the freelancer has “been unreachable.”

The apology in print, via Zimbabwe Daily

The apology was only published in print, according to the Zimbabwe Daily, which uploaded an image of it.

iMediaEthics has written to the Sunday Mail asking if it will post the apology online and for more information. We’ll update with any additional comments.

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Fmr PM says ‘I never made any comments,’ Zimbabwe newspaper retracts fake interview

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