Press freedom group: Mugabe has ‘stranglehold’ on broadcasting

Zimbabwe’s president keeps a “stranglehold” on broadcasting in the nation, which has just one broadcast station airing on four radio wavelengths and two TV channels, the Media Institute for Southern Africa announced today, on Africa Freedom Day, The Associated Press reported.

The government has made reporting difficult, with the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which has been used to arrest and intimidate independent journalists, and has been used to prosecute several, according to World Press.

The government in recent years has also shut down newspapers: The Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday in 2003, The Tribune in 2004 and The Weekly Times in 2005. The Daily News resumed publishing in March, but has since been subject to attacks.

Earlier this month, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) released a statement condemning the arrest and holding of Mzwandile Ndlovu, who was charged with reporting a fictitious story.

“Ndlovu was just covering a matter of public interest, without voicing any opinion. His arrest is unacceptable and we call for his immediate release. The independent newspapers that recently obtained licenses must also be able to work in complete freedom and their reporters must not be harassed,” the statement said.

Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, who has held office since 1980, is on RSF’s list of Predators of Press Freedom, released on 3 May, World Press Freedom Day. Overall, the country ranks 123 out of 178 on the latest worldwide press freedom index.

Image: Robert Mugabe, via topnews.in

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