Mbeki concerned at lack of press freedom

South African president, Thabo Mbeki, expressed concern over press repression in some African states when he addressed the World Association of Newspapers here recently, but did not single out Zimbabwe for public criticism.
WAN president Gavin O'Reilly was more direct, urging Mbeki t

o help bring reforms in the Zimbabwean media environment.
Publisher of the weekly Independent, Trevor Ncube, said African governments should not treat journalists as enemies of the state but as contributors in bringing about democratic societies.
Zimbabwe is one of the most difficult countries in the world to operate as a journalist. The African Commission on Human and People’s Rights’ recently requested the revision of the country’s draconian anti-freedom of expression laws, AIPPA and POSA.
Since the beginning of this year a number of journalists have been murdered, arrested and tortured by state agents, including Gift Phiri, Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai Mukwazhi, Tendai Musiyazviriyo, Frank Chikowore, Bright Chibvuri, Sunsley Chamunorwa, E-TV Reporter Peter Moyo, Trymore Zvidzai, Herbert Chikosi and Edward Chikomba.
Currently The Zimbabwean’s correspondent Itai Dzamara and The Standard’s photographer Boldwill Hungwe are on the run. Hungwe is wanted in connection with the photos appeared on the paper showing pictures of the battered human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa. The Pan African Parliament will soon send a delegation to investigate abuse of journalists in the country though Harare has threatened to stop them. – Trust Matsilele

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