Back to Index
MMPZ condemns fresh attacks on the private media
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
October 12, 2012
MMPZ is disturbed
by news of the arrest of Daily News editor Stanley Gama and his
deputy Chris Goko on October 8th and NewsDay Mashonaland West correspondent
Nunurai Jena during the weekend.
Gama and Goko
were arrested on criminal defamation charges, while Jena was arrested
for allegedly undermining the police's authority at a roadblock
The media reported
Gama and Goko as having been arrested at the behest of embattled
businessman and Zimpapers board member Munyaradzi Kereke over a
story suggesting that his family's alleged disappearance was
a hoax, while Jena was arrested after clashing with the police over
an undisclosed matter.
These were not
alone. They coincided with news of the arrest of community news
activist Kudakwashe Matura for criminal defamation in Kariba on
October 8th, barely two weeks after the police raided what they
suspected to be a pirate television station, DDB Harsh 3, in Harare
(The Herald and SW Radio Africa, 27/9 and The Zimbabwean and Radio
VoP, 8 & 11/10).
Apart from seizing
the organization's news-gathering equipment, the police also
detained an unspecified number of the company's workers, including
freelance journalists, for "questioning", as they suspected
the company had contravened sections of the Broadcasting
Services Act. The Act criminalizes broadcasting without a licence
from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
(The Herald, 27/9).
occurred hardly a month after Media and Information Minister Webster
Shamu threatened a crackdown on "errant media houses"
(The Herald, 13/9), no doubt making use of repressive laws, such
as the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the
and Reform Act, among others.
during the burial of former Harare provincial war veterans'
leader Christopher Pasipamire in Harare, Shamu warned that government
would not hesitate to revoke the operating licences of media organizations
"abusing" Press freedom to denounce the country and
its leadership (The Herald, 13/9). Shamu declared: "Government
has warned them twice and this is the last warning. There is no
need for attacking the President or the leadership . . . This is
an abuse of the freedom that has been given to them, the freedom
brought by the likes of Cde Pasipamire".
He vowed: "We
will work together with the Zimbabwe Media Commission to revoke
those licences because we cannot watch while the country's
leadership is assaulted".
MMPZ views Shamu's
threats and the arrest of journalists working for the private media
using repressive laws as the initial steps in a campaign by the
ZANU PF arm of government to threaten and intimidate these media
ahead of next year's elections. These actions lend credibility
to growing fears that come elections, the media that ZANU PF considers
to be "offensive" will simply be shut down to suffocate
critical discussion of its record of government that will deprive
the nation of their access to information and their right to express
these most recent attacks on the private media to be entirely unwarranted
and an intolerable violation of the people's democratic rights,
and calls again on the country's coalition parties to fulfil
their commitments under the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) to create "a free and diverse
This can only
be achieved if the inclusive government repeals archaic media and
security laws, that violate regional and international protocols,
such as the African
Charter for Human and People's Rights, including its Declaration
on the Principles of Freedom of Expression, the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights.
declare that freedom of expression is a fundamental human right,
while emphasizing that the existence of laws and practices that
undermine this right destroy any country's claim to be a democratic
MMPZ urges the
government to guarantee media freedom to promote greater public
transparency and accountability, as well as good governance and
the strengthening of democracy.
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.