Threats on private media must be taken seriously

HARARE - First Lady Grace Mugabe’s attack on the private media on Wednesday in Rushinga — which is clearly part of a disquieting attempt by Zanu PF officials to intimidate the independent media from exposing the raging factional wars in the ruling party — needs to be taken seriously.

The first lady’s emotional outburst against the private media should not be treated in isolation as it follows similar threats by President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba who ridiculously accused the private press of lying about the existence of factionalism in the post-congress Zanu PF.

The long-serving presidential spokesperson, who reportedly played a leading role in the enactment of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), ominously revealed that should the private press maintain the status quo, the State would in response come up with some new media laws.

While Grace and Charamba view the issue of the factionalism ripping apart the former liberation movement differently, they both appear determined to make the private media conform to the old adage: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”.

At the Rushinga rally, an emotional Grace thundered that she was fed up with the private media which she alleged was writing “rubbish and silly” stories. She then prescribed what it would take for her to read privately-owned newspapers:

“Please, be constructive. I am not saying don’t criticise me, criticise me where I am wrong, but don’t just write silly things. We also want to read your papers but we are fed up, we can’t read them because you produce rubbish,” she said.

It would be interesting to hear from the influential first lady why reporting on the various factions battling to take over from her 91-year-old husband should be equated to “stooping low”.

The new Zanu PF strongwoman should also enlighten us why questioning the logic of Vice President Phekezela Mphoko, who is supposed to be the second most powerful in both government and the ruling party, should be the one to introduce her despite the fact that she is a mere Zanu PF women’s affairs secretary, should be deemed “rubbish and silly”.

Despite the fact that the State media lies most of the time at the behest of the ruling party, it is interesting to note that Grace, rather hypocritically, did not have anything bad to say about the publicly-owned media for obvious reasons.

We believe this tirade on the private media is in fact well-choreographed and the threats, therefore, must be taken seriously.

Comments (2)

These Cling-on's cannot separate ZanuPF from Government! Any disagreement with Grace senile Bob or any of these thugs is tantamount to treason or subversion.

Nooshie - 17 October 2015

There is a serious need for te media to be seen to supervise themselves, they have the worst ethics in the world. examples of note that are definitely criminal are. 1 the article a year last Christmas that said we were changing currency that caused those that had worked hard to have no money for Christmas due to a run on banks. 2. politica;l rubbish that is clearly untrue such as Mugabe is dying in a Singapore hospital. 3. More recently that a journalist/activist, and you can only be one or the other has been kidnapped by police. stiupidly claiming that thev police, and they must be police because they went into a public barbers shop to show all it was a kidnap. thus bringing the name of the entire police force into disrepute. Ther [police are at faukt they should have arrestested the reporter and editor for economic sabotage in that clearly the intent was to causev disrespect for law enforcement eventually leading to violence which all public will suffer. They need a deterrent as the media commission simply doesn't work all they do is extort funds to join and then spend same. 15 years in jail would be reasonable as we the public have freedom of expression as well. There is a tendency for journalists to forget this causing public to complain and there are more of us so we will win, The media isn't monitored but complaints against them are - so much for freedom of expression it clearly doesn't exist and it is the media at fault.

infairness - 28 October 2015

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