Press under fire

There was a “new and more dangerous” attack on the press in April 2004 with the state-owned Herald declaring that it was now "time to deal with traitors".

Under pressure was the state news agency Ziana with one of the editors John Chimunhu being forced to resign.

Also under pressure was ZANU-PF legislator Kindness Paradza who owned The Tribune. Mashonaland West chairman Phillip Chiyangwa suspended Paradza from carrying out any party work in his Makonde constituency pending the outcome of a disciplinary hearing.

Paradza was accused of insubordination, gross indiscipline and fanning disunity among cadres in the district and province

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 04HARARE726, PRESS UNDER FIRE AGAIN IN ZIMBABWE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

04HARARE726

2004-04-29 13:25

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 000726

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, BARNES AND SIMS

NSC FOR TEITLEBAUM

AF FOR RAYNOR

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: PRESS UNDER FIRE AGAIN IN ZIMBABWE

 

1.   We have recently noticed a new and more dangerous

attack on the press in Zimbabwe. On Monday April 26, 2004

an editorial entitled "Time to deal with traitors" appeared

in the government owned newspaper "The Herald."   The

editorial was at best threatening and at worst a call for

hate crimes. One quote was ".we call upon the Government of

Zimbabwe to explore ways of dealing with Zimbabweans who are

giving aid to the enemies of the country by deliberately

portraying it in a bad light.Surely our legal experts can

pore through the law books to establish whether or not these

people are not in breach of the law.elsewhere people have

been tried and convicted in absentia for various crimes

including treason.."

 

 

2.   Several other events have taken place this week as

well. John Chimunhu, an editor at New Ziana, the state run

news service has resigned under pressure. Journalists at

New Ziana have been grilled by the Central Intelligence

Organization (CIO) and all were ordered to sign a paper

indicating that they were members of the ZANU-PF party.

They were also ordered not to cover the doings of the

opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Due to

this, Mr Chimunhu has resigned his job.

 

 

3.   Another example has to do with the publisher of "The

Tribune", a paper that has recently been showing a new

independent style. Kindness Paradza, ZANU PF legislator and

the new publisher of the semi-independent weekly "The

Tribune," has been suspended from carrying out party work in

his Makonde constituency. His dismissal comes barely two

months after taking over and transforming the "The Tribune"

into a lively and independent newspaper.

 

 

4.   ZANU PF's Mashonaland West provincial executive,

chaired by Robert Mugabe's nephew Phillip Chiyangwa, issued

Paradza with a prohibition order last Tuesday (April 26)

suspending him from performing his duties until the outcome

of a disciplinary hearing scheduled for May 27, 2004.

Paradza, who has been in Parliament for less than a year, is

being accused of "insubordination, gross indiscipline and

fanning disunity among cadres in the district and province."

Paradza, who is currently in Luton, United Kingdom, visiting

his wife, has dismissed the suspension as "a non-event."

 

 

5.   Investigations into Paradza's conduct arose following

an adverse report in the April 25 edition of the government

controlled weekly "The Sunday Mail." The paper accused

Paradza of traveling to the United Kingdom on April 23 in

order "to meet some officials of a British organization

ready to fund his take over bid." Paradza added fuel to the

fire when he criticized the country's media laws, the

Broadcasting Services Act and the Access to Information and

Protection of Privacy Act, in his maiden speech in

Parliament. He stated that the laws were "too restrictive

and discouraged potential local investment in the media."

Paradza is also being accused of seeking help from the

Directors of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),

publishers of the banned independent daily "The Daily News".

An editorial carried in the April 16, 2004 edition of "The

Tribune" where the paper is alleged to have "clearly

bemoaned the demise of The Daily News." Was cited as a

problem. Surprisingly, the editorial in question did not

comment on the closure of the Daily News at all. Under

headline "Zimbabweans need new political outlook," the

editorial reviewed Zimbabwe's 24 years of independence.

 

 

6.   With elections looming in March 2005, it is clear that

the Government of Zimbabwe is leaving nothing to chance and

will mount a strong campaign to control all of the written

as well as the electronic media.

 

SULLIVAN

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