MISA-Zimbabwe Media Alert
8 January 2016
Charamba threatens private media
Media, Information and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary George Charamba has threatened and warned the private media against reporting the security sector dabbling in ruling Zanu PF’s internal politics.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent, Charamba reacted angrily when asked to comment on the status of the contract for Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga.
He said he would cause the arrest of journalists who report on the military.
“If you do not heed the advice then we will descend on you heavily. The minister (of Information) warned you and quote me on this; we will use other instruments to make sure you stop reporting on military issues,” said Charamba.
This came hard on the heels of the arrest of acting Newsday acting editor Nqaba Matshazi and reporter Xolisani Ncube on charges of publishing falsehoods on the alleged secret payment of 2015 bonuses to the Central Intelligence Organisation.
MISA- Zimbabwe condemns Charamba’s incessant threats against the media. His threats underline the dangers that continue to confront the media in Zimbabwe despite the adoption of a new constitution guaranteeing media freedom.
This clearly shows the government can easily resort to media repression at the slightest of excuses using a range of autocratic statutory instruments at its disposal to curtail access to information critical to holding public officials to account.