Mugabe a predator of press freedom

pressfreedomZIMBABWE - President Robert Mugabe is one of forty predators of press freedom whose names were released on World Press Freedom Day by Reporters Without Borders.

The list has 40 names this year; 40 politicians, government officials, religious leaders, militias and criminal organisations that cannot stand the press, treat it as an enemy and directly attack journalists. They are powerful, dangerous, violent and above the law.

It is true that President Mugabe said in March 2010 that the Zimbabwe Media Council, a new entity tasked with issuing licences to newspapers, should create a space for the media. But no one is fooled. In practice, Mugabe is dragging his feet, sabotaging the national unity government, ensuring that the independent press cannot express itself freely and, through his aides, maintaining a strict control over the state media, reads a statement by Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR).

Mugabe stepped the pressure on the media after his governments electoral setbacks in 2008. Editors were placed under electronic surveillance to check their loyalty to the party, while opposition activists were abducted and tried for terrorist plots in grotesque trials.

Despite being hailed as a liberator when he came to power in the 1980s, Mugabe has no problem with the arbitrary arrests and harassment to which most of the countrys journalists are exposed. In 2002, he was the architect of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the sole aim of which was to finish off the privately-owned press, above all The Daily News, then the countrys most widely-read daily. Mugabe is to blame for the fact that Zimbabweans nowadays have no independent dailies or radio stations.

Post published in: Politics

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