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Zimbabwe confiscates more radios to block independent broadcasts
Violet Gonda, SW Radio Africa
January 22, 2007
At least 42
radios are reported to have been confiscated by state security agents
in rural areas, allegedly to stop people listening to independent
radio broadcasts. Several teachers are said to have fled some schools
while others have been sent on forced leave as a result of intimidation
and harassment in the Midlands and Mashonaland East areas. The radios
were distributed to several groups, especially teachers, to form
organised radio listening clubs in remote areas to allow people
to listen to independent news broadcasts from outside Zimbabwe.
the Secretary General of the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said: "I know for a
fact that government agents are visiting schools and basically looking
for the radios as well as getting specific information about those
people who belong to the PTUZ."
so-called state agents are illegally forcing the teachers to provide
their family histories to intimidate them. He said radios are being
confiscated and unspecified action is threatened to those teachers
who don't hand them over. Most of this is happening in the
Midlands area, especially Mberengwa and Gokwe.
reported that several teachers have also fled Mashonaland East.
The Governor of Mashonaland East Ray Kaukonde, was seen on national
television threatening people who had received radios. Majongwe
confirmed seeing the governor saying the people should be given
food and not radios. We were not able to get a comment from Kaukonde
but Majongwe said: "The issue is not about food it's
about access to information."
Just last month
we reported how two lawyers from the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights were also subjected to harassment and
intimidation by state agents in Gokwe when they were trying to serve
them with a court order. The police and the state agents were ordered
by the court to return several radios that had been confiscated
but Gokwe police refused to serve the court papers.
us that the court case will be heard at the magistrates' court
in Gokwe on Tuesday.
There are no
independent broadcasts from Zimbabwe. A sustained assault on press
freedoms has resulted in nearly all Zimbabwe's free media now operating
outside the country.
has been embarking on a systematic and relentless campaign to block
stations like SW Radio Africa and Studio 7 from being heard by jamming
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