THE Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe chapter) yesterday castigated attempts by Zanu PF to demonise the private media’s coverage of the prevailing factionalism in the ruling party.
In a statement, Misa said attempts to attach political identities to the private media and their continuous labelling as an extension of the opposition was unacceptable, adding threats against the private media would continue to portray Zimbabwe as a pariah State.
“While Misa-Zimbabwe acknowledges Zanu PF’s right to embargo some information relating to its internal business, it strongly condemns attempts to demonise the media outlets that report on the party issues and seeming criminalisation of those party members that exercise their right to propagate their views on succession,” the Misa statement read.
“Misa-Zimbabwe views attempts to attach political identities on the private media as unjustifiable and potentially dangerous to the news outlets, who for long have been subjected to both legal and extra-legal obstacles spurred on by inciting and reckless political pronouncements by public figures.”
The media rights lobby group said the recent description of private media as “opposition papers” by President Robert Mugabe was also unacceptable. “It is Misa-Zimbabwe’s considered view that any pronouncements and efforts to criminalise the work of the media — operating legally in the country — and their sources is in conflict with the new Constitution, which guarantees citizens’ right to propagate their views, media freedom and access to information.”