Media of Zimbabwe - History - 1999-present


All news media in the country are careful to reflect the government line when reporting by self-censorship. Private press was common and still exists, however since the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was passed, (which replaced LOMA from 40 years earlier) a number of outlets were shut down by the government, including The Daily News the same year. As a result, many press organisations have been set up in both neighbouring and Western countries by exiled Zimbabweans. However, because the internet is currently unrestricted, many Zimbabweans are allowed to access online news sites set up by exiled journalists. Reporters Without Borders claims the media in Zimbabwe involves "surveillance, threats, imprisonment, censorship, blackmail, abuse of power and denial of justice are all brought to bear to keep firm control over the news." Opposition views are often skewed, scantly covered or not mentioned in the state media, which has also criticised demonstrations and strikes against the government. Until July 2009, a Zambian newspaper, The Post, was the only foreign newspaper allowed to work in the country, along with the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Al Jazeera and SABC news agencies.

After a power sharing deal was agreed by Zanu PF and the opposition MDC in February 2009, Morgan Tsvangirai announced he was to "democratise" the state media and repeal many strict laws in order for the media to have a more meaningful role in the rebuilding of the country. The MDC had accused the state media of "gutter journalism" and biased reporting against the party. In April 2009, the coalition government planned to review media restrictions, including the removal of bans for some foreign news agencies and to create a new media commission to issue licenses. Zanu PF Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa said there was an "agreement to review the media policy so as to create a political climate where divergent voices will be heard." The media environment is slowly improving in Zimbabwe; on July 28, 2009, Zimbabwean journalists set up a rights body, the Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights to defend media freedom in the country and the establishment of a new government body, the Zimbabwe Media Commission to replace the defunct Media and Information Commission. Three papers – the previously banned Daily News, Financial Gazette and NewsDay were to relaunch. A license was issued to the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) that publishes Daily News which the government previously banned, was now free to operate. The Daily News newspaper re-appeared again on March 18, 2011, with its first article questioning whether Robert Mugabe should continue to rule at the age of 87.

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