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Minister threatens to close private newspapers
September 13, 2011
The Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu has
warned foreign and private media organisations that the government
will withdraw their licences if they continue abusing their journalistic
privileges by denigrating and vilifying the country's leadership.
the foreign and private media of denigrating President Robert Mugabe
and the First Family for unjustifiable reasons premised on falsehoods.
He said the country would use its laws to deal with the foreign
and private media. He said Britain has more than 50 media laws that
gagged the media but nobody made a fuss about it.
these media houses and pirate radio stations have intensified their
vitriolic attacks and the use of hate language on the person of
His Excellency, the President and the party (Zanu PF) in a well
calculated move aimed at influencing the results of the forthcoming
words, the execution of the regime change agenda has been intensified.
We cannot allow the denigration of the highest office in the land,
" he said.
does not condone irresponsible and unethical journalism, the Minister's
threats are of great concern as they come on the backdrop of similar
warnings against foreign newspapers by Godfrey Majonga, the chairperson
of the statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission.
foreign newspapers circulating in Zimbabwe risked being banned if
they fail to register with the ZMC in terms of the draconian Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). South
African newspapers, the Mail and Guardian and Sunday Times are among
some of the foreign newspapers circulating in Zimbabwe.
developments smack of machinations to intimidate or silence the
private media from shining the spotlight on the conduct of public
figures which goes against the dictates of transparency and accountability
as should be the case in an open and free society.
Claims by the
Minister that the United Kingdom has a plethora of media laws designed
to gag the press do not justify the existence or resort to similar
draconian laws in a free and independent Zimbabwe.
threats make a strong case on the urgent need for constitutional
provisions that explicitly guarantee media freedom and citizens'
right to access to information. Such provisions will render draconian
media laws such as AIPPA and the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, among others, unconstitutional.
should at all times strive for balance, fairness and respect for
citizens' right to privacy, MISA-Zimbabwe also expects the Minister
to forcefully defend media freedom by condemning and demanding the
arrest of the culprits who recently assaulted journalists working
for the private media at Parliament
Building in Harare.
the MISA-Zimbabwe fact
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