The Press: Bittersweet Victory

In a stunning setback for Ian Smith's authoritarian regime, the appellate division of Rhodesia's high court last week overturned the conviction of Journalist Peter Niesewand for violation of the Official Secrets Act. Chief Justice Sir Hugh Beadle, in announcing the unanimous ruling, twitted the Smith government's case against Niesewand: "Factual evidence as opposed to opinion was never given." The court found that Niesewand's reports on guerrilla activity against Rhodesian forces near the Mozambique frontier last year had not damaged the state, but had merely embarrassed the government.

For two days after the verdict, Niesewand, 28, remained in jail—where he had been...

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