Newsletters flood the streets of Harare.

morgan_rtsvangiraiHarare -- Newsletters have become a common feature in the capital as publishers lose patience over delays by the unity government to set up a new Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) that is expected to open up media space by granting publishing licences to more newspapers. (Pictured: PM Tsvangirai Publishes his own newsletter)

Publishers of most newsletters flooding the streets of Harare said they were disappointed by the prolonged process to create the ZMC that is part of several new commissions that the power-sharing government must establish as part of efforts to democratise and re-shape Zimbabwes politics.

A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), publishers of the Legal Monitor newsletter, said the lawyers group opted to produce its own news publication because of concerns over distortions and other inaccuracies in reports about human rights issues carried by state-owned newspapers.

The ZLHR spokesman said: “We found it beneficial to the public that they get real news about justice, crime and human rights from us as the state media twists facts we would have presented to them for publication.

We are happy that the public are now getting actual news direct from us. We had some problems with state security agents but we have since improvised other means of distributing our newsletter.

An official in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais office said the launch of the Prime Minister’s Newsletter was the result of disappointment with coverage of the Premier by the state media.

“The Prime Ministers office wants to set the record straight for Zimbabweans on the successes, failures and activities of the inclusive government, as opposed to the continued onslaught against Prime Minister by the state controlled media.

The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights has also launched a newsletter, which focuses on health issues.

During the just ended Sanganai\Hlanganani World Travel and Tourism Africa Fair in Harare, The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) ran a daily Newsletter, which was distributed to exhibitors and buyers. ZTA has now come up with a monthly newsletter.

Commenting on the mushrooming of newsletters, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Matthew Takaona, said that such publications were filling a void.

In any environment where there is repression there is bound to be an emergence of protest media, some people are now producing cassettes CDs and DVDs, its a serious indication that there is repression, people should welcome them as alternative sources of news, he said.

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