Back to Index
Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
Extracted from Weekly Media Update 2004-42
Monday October 18th - Sunday October 24th
IF the government
media were not glossing over the country’s flawed electoral reforms,
they were unquestioningly endorsing government’s moves to further
curtail the citizenry’s right to receive and impart information
the authorities’ lie that the amendments to the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) were consistent with the SADC
principles and guidelines on democratic elections.
This was illustrated
by the manner in which they exclusively reported on Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo’s Parliamentary defence of the proposed amendments,
which purportedly seeks to "clarify" or
"improve" some sections of AIPPA, but downplayed
MDC MPs’ contribution on the matter.
The MPs’ concerns
were only reasonably highlighted in the private media.
In their report
on the debate ZTV (19/10, 8pm) and Power FM (20/10, 6am), allowed
Moyo to mislead the public by claiming that the amendments and other
clauses of AIPPA were "based on an Act, which is consistent
with principles of good governance enshrined in SADC principle and
guidelines governing democratic elections."
None of the
government media measured such claims against the SADC electoral
principles, one of which calls on member States to guarantee media
freedom and equitable access to the public media of contesting political
Herald and Chronicle (20/10) simply followed their
broadcasting counterparts and severely restricted the MDC’s objections
to the AIPPA amendment. In fact, The Herald only gave
prominence to the ejection from Parliament of two MDC MPs for disobeying
orders. The two were reportedly ejected from the chamber after they
allegedly "continuously demanded" that the
House be divided during the second reading of AIPPA.
the private media gave fair exposure to the MDC MPs’ strong opposition
to the provisions of AIPPA. The Daily Mirror (20/10) and
the Independent (22/10), for example, revealed that Moyo
had actually been subjected to "withering attack"
from MDC MPs for "abusing the public media to further
his political ambitions" during Parliamentary debate
on the AIPPA amendment Bill.
reported the MDC MPs as arguing that Moyo had become an "ambitious"
and "dangerous" politician who should actually
be reined in by both ZANU PF and MDC legislators because no one
was safe from his machinations to entrench his control on the media
for "personal political gain".
told Parliament: "We know the minister wants complete
control…In the Sunday Mail he calls himself ‘Under the Surface’.
He also calls himself…(Lowani) Ndlovu or Mzala Joe or Nathaniel
Manheru…He even writes stories in The Sunday Mail under the by-line
of Munyaradzi Huni."
such observations, The Daily Mirror (21/10) revealed that
the authorities’ defence of AIPPA had reached ludicrous and blasphemous
levels after the head of the government-appointed Media Information
Commission, Tafataona Mahoso, projected the impression that the
repressive law, just like the Bible, was modelled to guard against
the peddling of falsehoods. He thus claimed Zimbabwe was "not
caught between the free flow of information and the so-called draconian
laws" but that the issue was about "embedded
journalists promoting harmful relations on behalf of Western countries".
was glorifying the virtues of AIPPA, the Independent reported
that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had taken government to the
African Commission on Human Rights and People’s Rights over its
closure of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday
under the same law. The Independent cited the papers’ lawyer,
Professor Michello Hansungule, as saying he believed that his clients’
case had merit because they were denied their basic right to have
their dispute with the Zimbabwe government over the constitutionality
of AIPPA determined by the Supreme Court.
Radio Africa (19/10) reported that two more journalists working
for the private media had been arrested in Gweru and Kwekwe and
charged under AIPPA.
Visit the MMPZ
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.