Journalists from the New York Times and The Washington Post were able to enter Zimbabwe and report on political and economic issues legally after following procedures laid down by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo.
Though the regulations were put in place 10 years ago, it is understood they still largely apply today.
The journalists followed the newly established procedure of applying for permission, on company letterhead, to enter Zimbabwe one month in advance of arrival. They dealt directly with the Ministry of Information in Harare rather than through the Zimbabwean High Commission in South Africa.
The journalists presented these letters to immigration officials and were allowed to enter with the instruction to report the next day to the Ministry of Information to get their visa/accreditation.
Viewing cable 01HARARE2327, AMERICAN JOURNALISTS SUCCESSFULLY USE NEW
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
031028Z Aug 01
PAGE 01 HARARE 02327 031030Z
INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AMAD-00 ACQ-00 CIAE-00 USNW-00 DODE-00
SRPP-00 DS-00 EUR-00 E-00 UTED-00 VC-00 H-01
TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 L-00 VCE-00 AC-01 NSAE-00
OMB-01 PA-00 PM-00 PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00
SS-00 TEST-00 TRSE-00 T-00 USIE-00 PMB-00 DSCC-00
DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00 /005W
——————0D9006 031030Z /38
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9412
INFO NSC WASHDC
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
UNCLAS HARARE 002327
LONDON FOR GURNEY
PARIS FOR BISA WILLIAMS
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER
E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: AMERICAN JOURNALISTS SUCCESSFULLY USE NEW
ZIMBABWEAN ACCREDITATION PROCEDURES
¶1. THE SOUTHERN AFRICA CORRESPONDENTS FOR THE NEW YORK
TIMES AND THE WASHINGTON POST SUCCESSFULLY USED THE NEW
PAGE 02 HARARE 02327 031030Z
MEDIA ACCREDITATION PROCEDURES PUT INTO PLACE BY
ZIMBABWEAN INFORMATION MINISTER JONATHAN MOYO IN JUNE
¶2001. THE JOHANNESBURG-BASED JOURNALISTS ARRIVED IN
ZIMBABWE AUGUST 1 AND 3 AND INTEND TO SPEND ABOUT A WEEK
IN THE COUNTRY COVERING POLITICAL AND ECONOMIC ISSUES.
¶2. THE JOURNALISTS FOLLOWED THE NEWLY ESTABLISHED
PROCEDURE OF APPLYING FOR PERMISSION, ON COMPANY
LETTERHEAD, TO ENTER ZIMBABWE ONE MONTH IN ADVANCE OF
ARRIVAL. THEY DEALT DIRECTLY WITH THE MINISTRY OF
INFORMATION IN HARARE RATHER THAN THROUGH THE ZIMBABWEAN
HIGH COMMISSION IN SOUTH AFRICA. IN RESPONSE TO THE
APPLICATIONS, THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION SENT
“INVITATION” LETTERS TO THE CORRESPONDENTS IN
JOHANNESBURG. UPON ARRIVAL AT THE AIRPORT IN HARARE,
THE JOURNALISTS PRESENTED THESE LETTERS TO IMMIGRATION
OFFICIALS AND WERE ALLOWED TO ENTER WITH THE INSTRUCTION
TO REPORT THE NEXT DAY TO THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION TO
GET THEIR VISA/ACCREDITATION. UPON PAYMENT OF THE USD
100 FEE, THE WASHINGTON POST CORRESPONDENT WAS GIVEN A
VISA/CREDENTIAL VALID FOR 9 DAYS, THE AMOUNT OF TIME HE
REQUESTED. THIS FEE MUST BE PAID EACH TIME THE
JOURNALIST ENTERS ZIMBABWE. THE NEW YORK TIMES
REPORTERS ARE TO REPORT TO THE MINISTRY LATER TODAY.
¶3. IN THIS CASE THE NEW ACCREDITATION PROCEDURE FOR
FOREIGN JOURNALISTS WORKED EXACTLY AS ADVERTISED BY
MINISTER MOYO. THE JOURNALISTS TELL US THAT MINISTRY
OFFICIALS SAY THEY “WILL BE FLEXIBLE” IF A BREAKING
STORY IN ZIMBABWE MAKES ADVANCE APPLICATION FOR A VISA
IMPRACTICAL. WE EXPECT THERE WILL BE OPPORTUNITIES TO
PAGE 03 HARARE 02327 031030Z
TEST THE MINISTRY’S FLEXIBILITY IN THE MONTHS TO COME.
WE WILL ALSO WATCH WITH INTEREST TO SEE IF UNFLATTERING
REPORTING ON ZIMBABWE MAKE THE VISA/ACCREDITATION
PROCESS MORE DIFFICULT.