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Weekly Media Review 2011-25
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
Monday June 20th - Sunday June 26th 2011
July 01, 2011
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PF steps up campaign against private media
As this report
was being complied, SW Radio Africa and NewsDay (29 & 30/6)
reported the arrest
of journalists Nevanji Madanhire (editor) and Patience Nyangove
(senior reporter) and company representative Loud Ramakgapola from
the private weekly, The Standard, over a story the paper published
on June 19th about the arrest
and detention of MDC-T Minister Jameson Timba.
the three were charged with criminal defamation under Section 31
(A) (iii) and 96 of the Criminal
Law (Codification) and Reform Act, after its front-page report:
MDC-T fears for missing Timba's life, claimed Timba had been
arrested by police officers, including "the notorious Crispen
Makedenge", when Makedenge was allegedly "not present
and involved in the arrest". The section criminalizes "publication
of false statements prejudicial to the State" and that "undermines
public confidence in law enforcement agencies".
came barely two days after the Daily News (28/6) reported an imminent
crackdown on private media journalists, allegedly to discourage
them from criticizing President Mugabe and his ZANU PF party, at
the instigation of an unnamed ZANU PF politburo member, presumed
to be Jonathan Moyo. These also came in the wake of a sustained
propaganda campaign by Moyo, mostly on the national broadcaster,
ZBC, and the official weekly, The Sunday Mail, depicting journalists
working for the private media as having been recruited by Britain
to effect illegal regime change in Zimbabwe.
This was reflected
in 11 stories the government media carried from June 19th to June
ZTV gave this
"news" excessive prominence in their evening bulletins
over four consecutive nights (21, 22, 23 & 24/6, 6 & 8pm)
alleging that the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Office
was "in possession of more that £3m" to "fund
operations on the private media in tarnishing the image and person
of President Mugabe" under the supervision of Jameson Timba,
Minister of State in the Prime Minister's office.
It quoted Moyo:
"We know that it is Jameson Timba who is doing that coordination . . . This
idea that we can have people behaving in this manner . . . has gone
too far (and) is unacceptable and we must confront it".
The latest developments
pose a major threat to renewed hopes for genuine media reforms,
reflected in revelations that some senior ZANU PF officials now
backed the reforms. Among these is ZANU PF Chivi South MP Irvene
Dzingirai who urged government to "legalize" the operations
of "pirate" radio stations such as SW Radio Africa and
Studio 7, as they were "a vital source of information"
(Radio VoP and NewsDay, 18 & 28/6).
Radio Africa and ZimOnline (22 & 23/6) reported that the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Communication Technology
had called for a review of Zimbabwe's broadcasting laws and
an end to ZBC's monopoly of the airwaves, as it was "incompatible"
with Zimbabweans' right to freedom of expression, in its report
about the state of the media in the country.
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