Zim repsonse to WAN condemnation….(08-06-07)

A bogus resolution by a bogus organization

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's government on Thursday dismissed a
resolution by the World Association of Newspapers (WAN) condemning
violations in Zimbabwe and calling for an end to the arrests and
detentions of reporters.

“This is a bogus resolution by a bogus
organisation,” Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba said in comments
carried by the official Herald newspaper. “We give absolutely no regard
that report and dismiss it with the contempt it deserves,” said
who is also the permanent secretary in the information ministry. The
board this week accused Mugabe’s government of violating journalists
rights by detaining them, assaulting them and stripping them of
required to work. The WAN board called on Mugabe to put an end to the
arbitrary and violent arrest and detention of journalists, and to
commit to uphold international standards of freedom of expression and
freedom of the press, part of the statement read. The Paris-based WAN
represents 18 000 publications across five continents. The call comes
barely a month after the International Press Institute noted that
is probably the most difficult place in the world to work as a
The government has launched a renewed clampdown on independent
in recent months. In April Gift Phiri, Harare correspondent of a
London-based Zimbabwean newspaper, was arrested and tortured by police
over two stories he wrote last year. Earlier, in March, a local
photojournalist and his colleague were arrested and severely assaulted
police while trying to cover a thwarted opposition rally. Several days
later, veteran television journalist Edward Chikombo was abducted by
suspected state agents from his Harare home and later found dead
the capital. Tafataona Mahoso, the chairperson of the state-appointed
Media and Information Commission (MIC) in charge of licensing
suggested the slain cameraman was in fact a spy. He said the former
journalist, who is reported to have filmed footage of opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai after his torture by police, did not appear on the
list of accredited journalists. “So if he was doing media work he was
doing so as a spy using media equipment which may explain his case,”
Mahoso told the Herald. “If he was abducted and murdered by somebody,
had nothing to do with journalism.” The MIC, which Mahoso has chaired
since its inception in 2002, has forced four independent newspapers to
close in the past five years, including the best-selling Daily News.The
commission has also consistently denied press cards to independent and
foreign correspondents. In its statement on Tuesday WAN accused the MIC
working with Mugabe’s government to suppress press freedom and to
asphyxiate the very last private media in Zimbabwe.-IOL

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