Government appoints media and information commission


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Information Minister Jonathan Moyo appointed a six-member Media and Information Commission to license media organisations, accredit journalists, and assume other functions related to controlling the media in Zimbabwe.

Tafataona Mahoso, head of the journalism department at Harare Polytechnic and strong supporter of the Mugabe administration and media control, was named executive chairman of the Commission.

Other members were Pascal Mukondiwa, former editor of the Sunday Mail; Jonathan Maphenduka, former assistant editor of the Chronicle; retired Information Ministry official Alpinos Makoni; Dr. Rino Zhuwarara, the head of Media Studies at the University of Zimbabwe; and Sephath Mlambo, the principal of the government-run Mkoba Teachers’ College.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 02HARARE1357, PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA COMMISSION NAMED

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1357

2002-06-04 12:52

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001357

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PD, AF/S, AF/RA

 

NSC FOR JENFAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: PRO-GOVERNMENT MEDIA COMMISSION NAMED

 

 

1.   On June 1 Information Minister Jonathan Moyo

appointed a six-member Media and Information Commission

to license media organizations, accredit journalists,

and assume other functions related to controlling the

media in Zimbabwe. The Media and Information

Commission is a statutory body mandated by the Access

to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Moyo named Dr. Tafataona Mahoso, head of the journalism

department at Harare Polytechnic and strong supporter

of the Mugabe administration and media control, as

executive chairman of the Commission. Moyo also named

two former editors of state-controlled newspapers —

Pascal Mukondiwa, former editor of the “Sunday Mail”

and Jonathan Maphenduka, former assistant editor of the

“Chronicle” — to the panel. Other Commission members

include retired Information Ministry official Alpinos

Makoni; Dr. Rino Zhuwara, the head of Media Studies at

the University of Zimbabwe, and Mr. Sephath Mlambo, the

principal of the government-run Mkoba Teachers’

College. All members have been appointed for three

years.

 

2.   In a statement released on June 1, the government

said the Commission was set up to ensure that “all

Zimbabweans enjoy improved access to information and

achieve effective ownership and control of mass media

services in the country.” The Commission would also

“enforce professional and ethical standards in the

media industry, as well as mount investigations and

inquiries on media conduct.”

 

3.   The Zimbabwean office of the Media Institute of

Southern Africa (MISA) is planning to protest the

monolithic, pro-government composition of the

Commission. Media industry leaders, international

correspondents and journalists’ unions complained that

they were not consulted on the appointments.

 

4.   Comment: During AIPPA’s tortuous passage through

parliament, critics warned that the Commission was

likely to be packed with government supporters and

become a rubber stamp for Information Minister Moyo’s

plans for controlling the media in Zimbabwe. The

composition of the Commission’s membership confirms

those fears and sets up another mechanism for increased

government control of all media operating in Zimbabwe.

 

SULLIVAN

(39 VIEWS)

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The Insider

The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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