Last Updated: Tuesday, 23 September 2014, 13:54 GMT

2012 Predators of Press Freedom: Zimbabwe - Robert Mugabe, President

Publisher Reporters Without Borders
Publication Date 4 May 2012
Cite as Reporters Without Borders, 2012 Predators of Press Freedom: Zimbabwe - Robert Mugabe, President, 4 May 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4fa77cd11a.html [accessed 23 September 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

It is thanks to its president that Zimbabwe's privately-owned print media are constantly harassed and that the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has a monopoly of radio and TV broadcasting. Robert Mugabe blocks everything, prevents the national unity government from functioning properly, makes sure the independent media are unable to express themselves freely and, with the help of his closest aides, keeps the state media under tight control.

Mugabe stepped up the pressure on the media after his government's electoral setbacks in 2008. Editors were placed under electronic surveillance to check their loyalty to the party, while opposition activists were abducted and tried for "terrorist plots" in grotesque trials.

Despite being hailed as a "liberator" when he came to power in the 1980s, Mugabe has no problem with the arbitrary arrests and harassment to which most of the country's journalists are exposed. In 2002, he was the architect of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the sole aim of which was to finish off the privately-owned press, above all The Daily News, then the country's most widely-read daily. In 2012, "the old man" was preparing for the next elections – for which a date has yet to be set – by continuing to curtail free speech. While foreign news organizations are not welcome, the harassment of local journalists continues.

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