Zimbabwe minister warns media

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Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Zimbabwe Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, warned media organisations may have their licences revoked for misusing their licenses to 'vilify' Zimbabwe and its leadership.

The warning follows reports in the media alleged to attack the former President of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe. Shamu claimed that some non-government media organisations were misusing their licenses to denounce Mugabe, and that this misuse increased to affect approaching elections.

Shamu drew parallels with British and US media policy, saying Britain has many media gag laws that are accepted without complaint. He continued by asserting both the United States and Britain are hypocritical, claiming they “have got some of the most draconian media laws on earth which severely restrict media freedom under the guise of protecting their national security".

Raphael Khumalo, chief executive officer of Alpha Media Holdings, publisher of Newsday and the weekly Independent and Standard papers, was reported in the Voice of America to have said his company will only take the warnings from Shamu seriously if he approaches them formally. Chairman Njabulo Ncube, of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, told VOA all media organisations across Zimbabwe must adhere to the same rules, be they independent or state-controlled.

The warnings by Shamu come after a Wikileaks story revealed alleged conversations between US diplomats and Zimbabweans close to Mugabe.