Shamu blasts media ‘for wishing Mugabe dead’

Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu yesterday castigated some sections of the media for “literally wishing President Robert Mugabe dead”.

In an interview Shamu, a journalist by profession, said he felt the media had not accorded the First Family the respect it deserves.

He said some sections of the media had also thrown away the country’s cultural norms by demonising their country, hence the warning that he would consider withdrawing licences.

“If you go all out to denigrate the person of the President, write speculative and negative stories on the President and the First Family without even verifying facts, one wonders whose interest you are serving,” he said.

“I’m not saying someone in Zanu PF or MDC can’t be wrong, but they can’t be wrong every day of their lives.

Are we saying the President can never be right? Is he always wrong? You (the private Press) always wish him dead and go on to regurgitate the same story over and over again. The hatred has been so blatant as to wish someone dead. In our culture, this not acceptable. The whole First Family is targeted, even the kids and this is not acceptable.”

Shamu, however, said: “I am passionate about the media, and I don’t want to give licences and take them away. I am, however, concerned by what is going on. As journalists you should understand that you are Zimbabweans first.

“I have no problem when public officials are criticised, but criticism should be constructive. It is the duty of journalists to highlight where officials have erred, but we should not denigrate our country and spread hate speech.”

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