State media ordered to black out Mutambara

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe’s chief press secretary, George Charamba, has directed state media editors to black out former student activist and now an opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party leader Arth

ur Mutambara.

Charamba, who has been accused before of interfering with editorial affairs at the government newspapers and at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, is said to have instructed that Mutambara be mentioned only when it was extremely necessary to do so such as when he dies or is arrested.

Mutambara, a radical student leader during his days at the University of Zimbabwe, was two weeks ago elected president of a faction of the MDC opposed to founding leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

A journalist with The Herald, who did not want to be named for fear of victimisation, said the order to black out Mutambara was communicated to Herald reporters at a meeting held at the paper’s Harare offices last Monday.

The instruction has in the last few days also been communicated to journalists at other state papers and at the ZBH.

According to the source, before Charamba’s latest instruction, Mutambara and his camp of the MDC had been treated in a generally “friendly manner” by state media and also given better coverage than the opposition faction led by Tsvangirai.

“This marks a shift in government policy because Mutambara and his camp have of late been a darling of the government and Zanu (PF). We were printing all statements from their information and publicity department without even asking questions.”

But Mutambara’s vow during his acceptance speech that he would fight with every “tooth, claw and nail” to remove Mugabe and his ruling party from power appeared to have forced a review of how his camp is treated by the government media. – ZimOnline

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