Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Zim media activist detained in fresh crackdown

Zimbabwe police detained a leading media rights activist on Tuesday in what analysts said was a new crackdown on critics of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party before possible general elections next year.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) — a media lobby group — said its director Andy Moyse was arrested at his Harare office on charges of distributing subversive material, a day after the detention of two other MMPZ staffers in southern Zimbabwe under the country’s tough security laws.

The police searched the MMPZ offices for “material which comprises of DVDs containing Gukurahundi information”, an MMPZ statement said, referring to a 1980s military crackdown in Zimbabwe’s southern Matabeleleland and Midlands provinces when human rights groups say about 20 000 people were killed.

“In terms of the search warrant, the police purport that they have reasonable grounds to believe that MMPZ officers may have acted in breach [of the law] … that is, ‘publishing or communicating false statements prejudicial to the state’.”

The group said police seized DVDs calling on the media to contribute to peaceful elections through fair, accurate and balanced coverage of campaigns by political parties.

Zimbabwean police and the information ministry were not immediately available for comment.

A unity government formed by Mugabe and rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009 opened up licences for private newspapers but critics say Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party is stalling further reforms and blocking private broadcasters.

Mugabe (87), in power since independence from Britain in 1980, says he wants to call elections next year to end the unity government that he was forced into after disputed polls in 2008.

Critics say Zanu-PF hardliners are leading a new crackdown on the party’s opponents, including targeting journalists in the private media.

In the last three weeks, two journalists and two editors from some of the country’s major private newspaper groups have been arrested for criminal defamation of senior Zanu-PF officials and associates. — Reuters

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

Environmental groups welcome China’s pledge on coal

Will China’s end of coal finance be the final nail in the coffin for MMESZ?

More top stories

Environmentalists are trying to save South Africa’s obscure endangered species

Scientists are digging for De Winton’s golden moles, working on the mystery of the riverine rabbit and using mesh mattresses to save the unique Knysna seahorse

Shadow states infest Africa’s democracies

Two recent reports show evidence that democracy in Africa is being threatened by private power networks

The West owes Africa $100bn (at least) for climate recovery

In fewer than three days, a US citizen emits as much carbon as a person from Chad or Niger does in one year. Such is the asymmetry in culpability for climate change.

Environmental groups welcome China’s pledge on coal

Will China’s end of coal finance be the final nail in the coffin for MMESZ?
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×