The Zanu (PF)-controlled ZBC-TV said that she and other civil rights campaigners were paid by the MDC to stage last week’s protests at the SADC summit in Windhoek. It is unfortunate that so-called journalists choose to propagate such falsehoods, which some have rightly described as outright propagandist lies, Petras told The Zimbabwean.
ZBCs Reuben Barwe reported on Monday that the protesters who turned up in Namibia had been paid by MDC to disrupt the conference. The heavily opinionated so-called news report made personal attacks on Petras. According to an earlier ZLHR statement, Petras was among a group of four pro-democracy activists who were targeted by heavily armed Namibian police and handed over to Zimbabwean state security agents at the summit. The statement said the Central Intelligence Organisation agents were very hostile, demanding personal details of Petras and other activists, including their residential addresses in Zimbabwe.
Petras said the conduct of ZBC strengthened calls for reform of the public broadcaster, which is virtually run by Zanu (PF) in violation of the Global Political Agreement. Abuse of ZBC by Zanu (PF) and refusal by Mugabe to have private broadcasters licensed are among the major issues hindering progress on full implementation of the GPA. ZBC ignored last week’s appeals by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka for fair coverage of all political parties in the country.