Fresh assault on Zim media

HARARE - It is truly tragic that the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has now launched its Media Council.

Indeed, there can only be one outcome of this Zanu PF-driven and managed political project — a fresh and savage assault on the country’s fledgling independent media, at the same primitive level as was witnessed when the Daily News was maliciously and unjustly shut down in September 2003.

What this also means is that the well-known lunatic fringe in President Robert Mugabe’s former ruling party, with their scotched earth approach to politics, are now firmly in charge of Zanu PF again.

This in turn means that Zimbabweans ought to be very afraid again, for the signs are all too ominous, all round. To decode things further, this fresh assault, as was the case a decade ago, is ultimately aimed at ordinary Zimbabweans — rather than the independent media per se.

The question to ask is what is next after they decapitate the private media as they intend to do?

A decade ago it was literally the beginning of a traumatic ride to hell that culminated in the likes of Murambatsvina, rapes and murders in 2008 and the worst economic disaster that the world has ever witnessed!

Beleaguered Information minister Webster Shamu set the ball rolling on this fresh tilt at anarchy earlier this week when he bluntly and unashamedly promised to shut down the private media if they continue shining their bright torches in the dark corners of Mugabe’s and Zanu PF’s kleptocratic worlds.

We say beleaguered of Shamu because we believe that he is acting under pressure from his party’s hardliners, and that deep down he does not believe in this barbarism. Indeed, why would he sanction this insanity now and not earlier?

And was it not under his overall sympathetic watch that Zimbabwe’s leading media brand the Daily News was able to come back?

Shamu’s shocking rantings were on Thursday followed by the launch of the Zimbabwe Media Council itself, to the further trauma of all right-thinking Zimbabweans.

Among its supposedly impartial members who will run this august body are Justin Mutasa, the CEO of Zimpapers, and Happison Muchechetere, the CEO of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. Whoa! Really?

Is Mutasa not the same gentleman whose company publishes the rabid Zanu PF propaganda missiles that include The Herald, The Sunday Mail and The Chronicle?

And is Muchechetere not the head of the monopoly television outfit that is headquartered at Pockets Hill and that beams nothing but hate speech against political opponents of Mugabe and Zanu PF?

Indeed, are state newspapers and broadcast stations not guilty of the worst editorial excesses imaginable in this country? Do they not day-in and day-out weave disgusting Zanu PF spin and incite violence against those perceived to be critical of the establishment?

Given all these incontrovertible truths, we ask with tears in our eyes how this media council is supposed to work with any semblance of legitimacy with the likes of these two gentlemen as part of the team in charge? To what effect?

We want to state unequivocally here, that any nation that seeks to regulate the media this way is truly a banana republic, no matter how much this statement will upset these anarchy mongers.

After all, we already have the Voluntary Media Council which is working perfectly.

Just watch the carnage as it unfolds from here onwards, for you can’t entrust the chicken run to hyenas.

It is that bad.

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