Attacks on media intensify with increased threats against newspapers
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Attacks on media institutions and practitioners in Zimbabwe have intensified
in recent weeks, as ZANU PF officials continue their push for elections to
be held this year, even without any reforms.
This week alone the Daily News reported that thugs from Robert Mugabe’s
party had illegally banned sales of the paper in Mashonaland East and there
have been threats by war vets against NewsDay newspaper, over a story they
claim was false.
Daily News editor Stanley Gama told SW Radio Africa that ZANU PF thugs have
stopped the paper from being distributed anywhere in Mutoko and Murehwa
districts, by attacking the vehicles that bring copies to the area. He also
complained that police were not protecting their vendors around the country.
Gama said they plan to approach the courts through their lawyers in order to
re-establish circulation of the paper in those areas. He also plans to
travel to Murehwa and Mutoko to file police reports and discuss the issue of
protection with the police in the area.
“Our papers were also burned by ZANU PF thugs in Kadoma who came from their
office nearby. Vendors were also threatened in Kuwadzana. There are threats
every day but we will not be silenced,” Gama said.
He explained that the intensified attacks on the media are linked to talk of
elections from ZANU PF, as the party does not want people to have
information about their abuses ahead of the expected polls.
On Wednesday, war vet leaders for Harare province reportedly threatened to
shut down the operations of NewsDay, unless the paper revealed their source
for a story published last month, which said war vets had tried to exhume
the remains of Cecil John Rhodes at Matobo Hills.
According to NewsDay, Harare province war vet chairman Charles Mpofu claimed
that none of their members had been at Matobo on that day and gave the paper
five days to reveal who leaked the information, or risk being shut down.
Meanwhile, shortwave broadcasts from SW Radio Africa have been jammed
several times in the last month, with the most recent incident taking place
Attacks on the media have been part of ZANU PF’s strategy over the last
decade, whenever elections are approaching.
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