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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
01HARARE741
2001-02-13 14:00:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Harare
Cable title:  

GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE INTENSIFIES SQUEEZE ON

Tags:   PHUM  PGOV  KPAO  KDEM  ZI 
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

131400Z Feb 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTQ0502

PAGE 01        HARARE  00741  01 OF 02  131359Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  CIAE-00  SMEC-00  DODE-00  
      DOEE-00  SRPP-00  DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   VC-00    H-01     
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   
      ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  BBG-00   
      R-00     PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  
      SAS-00   SWCI-00    /010W
                  ------------------C50DEC  131438Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8220
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000741 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, AF/PD (COX, HOWARD, SANDERS)

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00741 01 OF 02 131359Z
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA C. PALMA

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/11
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KPAO KDEM ZI
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE INTENSIFIES SQUEEZE ON
THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA


CLASSIFIED BY CHARGE D'AFFAIRES EARL M. IRVING FOR
REASONS 1.5 B/D.



1. (C) SUMMARY: THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE'S ASSAULT
ON THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA HAS NOT ABATED IN THE WAKE OF
THE BOMBING OF THE "DAILY NEWS." THE CURRENT ATTACK
ON PRESS FREEDOM IS, HOWEVER, MORE SOPHISTICATED AND
MAY IN THE LONG RUN BE MORE EFFECTIVE THAN THE
DESTRUCTION OF THE "DAILY NEWS" PRINTING PRESSES. THE
METHODOLOGY INCLUDES SELECTIVE ACCREDITATION OF
JOURNALISTS, EXORBITANT FEES FOR CREDENTIALING FOREIGN
PRESS, DENYING ACCESS AND INFORMATION TO THE
INDEPENDENT MEDIA, AND LOOMING RESTRICTIONS ON FOREIGN
OWNERSHIP OR SUPPORT TO INDEPENDENT MEDIA. THE GOZ IS
PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS TO MUZZLE THE INDEPENDENT
PRESS AND THE PUBLIC'S ACCESS TO INFORMATION, A KEY
COMPONENT IN ITS STRATEGY FOR THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION. END SUMMARY.



2. (C) IN SPITE OF INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY MINISTER
JONATHAN MOYO'S (UNCONVINCING AND TEPID) EXPRESSION OF
CONCERN AFTER THE JANUARY 28 BOMBING OF THE "DAILY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 03 HARARE 00741 01 OF 02 131359Z
NEWS" PRINTING PRESS, THE GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE'S
(GOZ) CAMPAIGN TO RESTRICT FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND
ACCESS TO INFORMATION HAS INTENSIFIED. A FEBRUARY 3
NOTICE IN GOVERNMENT-OWNED NEWSPAPERS INSTRUCTED ALL
JOURNALISTS TO APPLY FOR NEW CREDENTIALS TO COVER
PARLIAMENT. THE REGISTRATION PERIOD RUNS THROUGH
FEBRUARY 16, BUT THE APPARENT INTENT OF THIS MOVE IS
TO ALLOW THE GOVERNMENT TO RESTRICT PARLIAMENTARY
COVERAGE TO "FRIENDLY" JOURNALISTS.



3. (C) THE MINISTRY OF INFORMATION HAS ALSO SCRAPPED
CENTRALIZED ISSUANCE OF PRESS CREDENTIALS FOR COVERING
THE GOZ. JOURNALISTS MUST NOW APPLY TO EACH MINISTRY
OR BRANCH OF GOVERNMENT FOR THE CREDENTIAL REQUIRED
FOR ACCESS. INDEPENDENT JOURNALISTS ARE ALREADY
FEELING THE EFFECTS OF GOZ FIATS BANNING THEM FROM
SOME OFFICES AND EVENTS. ALL LEVELS OF THE ZIMBABWE
REPUBLIC POLICE, EVEN POLICE PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICIALS,
NOW FLATLY REFUSE TO SPEAK TO JOURNALISTS FROM THE
INDEPENDENT MEDIA. INDEPENDENT MEDIA HAVE ALSO
RECENTLY BEEN BARRED FROM ATTENDING GOZ PRESS
CONFERENCES AND WERE BANNED FROM THE PUBLIC VIEWING OF
LAURENT KABILA'S BODY, AN EVENT THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED
MEDIA COVERED FULLY.



4. (U) IN JUNE 2000 THE GOZ INITIATED A US$100
ACCREDITATION FEE FOR FOREIGN JOURNALISTS WISHING TO
COVER ZIMBABWE'S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS. THAT FEE
REMAINS IN FORCE, SUPPLEMENTED BY A US$500 FEE FOR A
TEMPORARY IMPORT PERMIT REQUIRED TO BRING TELEVISION
EQUIPMENT INTO ZIMBABWE. THESE FEES ARE AFFORDABLE BY
CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 04 HARARE 00741 01 OF 02 131359Z
INTERNATIONAL MEDIA STANDARDS, BUT HAVE HAD THE EFFECT
OF REDUCING COVERAGE OF EVENTS IN ZIMBABWE BY REGIONAL
NEWS ORGANIZATIONS, FREE-LANCE REPORTERS AND
STRINGERS.



5. (C) DURING THE WEEK OF FEBRUARY 4 MINISTER MOYO
PUBLICLY ANNOUNCED HIS DETERMINATION TO LIMIT FOREIGN
OWNERSHIP OF MEDIA IN ZIMBABWE. FURTHERMORE, HE SAID
THAT INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR ZIMBABWEAN
MEDIA SHOULD BE BANNED. THESE STATEMENTS ARE DIRECT
THREATS TO THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA, AND SEEM TO REFER
DIRECTLY TO THE INTERNATIONAL FUND-RAISING CAMPAIGN TO
HELP THE "DAILY NEWS" RECOVER FROM THE BOMBING OF ITS
PRESSES.



6. (C) THE GOVERNMENT-OWNED DAILY "THE HERALD"
INITIALLY TRUMPETED THE FACT THAT ITS PRESSES WERE
PRODUCING THE "DAILY NEWS" 3 TIMES PER WEEK
IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE "DAILY NEWS" BOMBING. THEIR
HEADLINE WAS "HERALD RESCUES DAILY NEWS." THAT
ARRANGEMENT, STRUCK BY THE PAPER'S MANAGING DIRECTOR
STRICTLY AS A MONEYMAKING COMMERCIAL DEAL, WAS NIXED
TWO WEEKS LATER BY "POLITICAL BOSSES." THE "DAILY
NEWS" IS NOW SCRAMBLING TO FIND ANOTHER COMMERCIAL
PRINTER TO COVER THE 3 DAYS PER WEEK WHEN THEIR

CONFIDENTIAL

CONFIDENTIAL PTQ0503

PAGE 01 HARARE 00741 02 OF 02 131359Z
ACTION AF-00

INFO LOG-00 NP-00 AID-00 AMAD-00 CIAE-00 SMEC-00 INL-00
DODE-00 DOEE-00 SRPP-00 DS-00 EB-00 EUR-00 VC-00
H-01 TEDE-00 INR-00 IO-00 LAB-01 L-00 VCE-00
AC-01 NSAE-00 OIC-02 OMB-01 OPIC-01 PA-00 PM-00
PRS-00 ACE-00 P-00 SP-00 STR-00 TRSE-00 USIE-00
PMB-00 DSCC-00 PRM-01 DRL-02 G-00 NFAT-00 SAS-00
/010W


--------------------------

C50DF4 131439Z /38
R 131400Z FEB 01
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8221
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY LONDON
AMEMBASSY PARIS
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000741

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/S, AF/PD (COX, HOWARD, SANDERS)

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR WILLIAMS

CONFIDENTIAL

PAGE 02 HARARE 00741 02 OF 02 131359Z
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA C. PALMA

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/11
TAGS: PHUM PGOV KPAO KDEM ZI
SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE INTENSIFIES SQUEEZE ON
THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA

CURRENT COMMERCIAL PRINTER CANNOT PUBLISH THE PAPER.



7. (C) COMMENT: THIS SYSTEMATIC ATTACK ON THE
INDEPENDENT MEDIA FITS IN NEATLY WITH THE SIMULTANEOUS
GOZ EFFORT TO COW THE JUDICIARY AND THE OPPOSITION,
AND IS A KEY COMPONENT IN THE GOVERNMENT'S STRATEGY TO
RESTRICT THE PUBLIC'S ACCESS TO ALTERNATIVE VIEWS IN
THE RUN-UP TO THE 2002 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. TAKEN
BY ITSELF, THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA
IS AN INSIDIOUS THREAT TO FREEDOM OF THE PRESS. IN
COMBINATION WITH THE ATTACKS AGAINST THE JUDICIARY AND
THE OPPOSITION, IT IS A DANGEROUS ASSAULT ON
FUNDAMENTAL, CONSTITUTIONALLY-GUARANTEED HUMAN RIGHTS
AND WILL BOLSTER ZIMBABWE'S INCREASINGLY AUTHORITARIAN
TREND. END COMMENT.

IRVING

CONFIDENTIAL

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