Cablegate: Media Reaction Wssd; Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Government-owned print and broadcast media in
Zimbabwe gave prominent coverage to the heckling of
Secretary of State Powell at the WSSD on September 4.
The story featured prominently on television and radio
news programs and was page 1, above-the-fold in the
government-owned Herald and Chronicle newspapers. All
reporting in government media sought to portray the
heckling of Powell as an additional sign of President
Mugabe's popularity and strength, and the "isolation"
of the United States and the UK. Excerpts follow.

2. Under headline "Attempt to blame Zim for Food
crisis backfires: Colin Powell Booed" the government-
controlled daily "The Herald" (09/05) carried the
following page-1 story by political editor Munyaradzi

"U.S. Secretary of State Mr. Colin Powell's bid to
blame Zimbabwe for the prevailing food crisis
yesterday backfired when he was booed and jeered
by delegates to the Earth Summit. All hell broke
loose when Mr. Powell charged that Zimbabwe's
alleged lack of respect for human rights and
democracy was causing the food crisis in the
country and pushing `millions of people to the
brink of starvation.' Mr. Powell. . .was scolded
by delegates who saw the attack on Zimbabwe as an
attempt to exonerate British Prime Minister Tony
Blair from the humiliating dressing down by
President Mugabe over Britain's interference in
Zimbabwe on Monday. . .

3. Zimbabwean radio and television (all government-
owned) news reports on September 4 and 5 portrayed the
heckling of the Secretary of State as another
expression of global popular support for President
Mugabe. William Nhara, a political analyst interviewed
on the September 4 prime-time television news program
said that President Mugabe's speech at the WSSD was
comparable to Martin Luther King's "I have a Dream
Speech" in terms of liberating Africans from
colonialism. Nhara went on to say that, in the wake of
Mugabe's speech, the U.S. and UK were isolated in their
criticism of Mugabe. This comment was followed by a
three-minute report on the Secretary of State's speech
in which the reporter sought to make the case that the
Secretary was heckled by "the growing international
coalition" of President Mugabe's supporters.

4. The independent "Daily News" and Financial
Gazette" carried a factual Reuters accounts of Powell's
speech and the interruptions to it. The wire service
article attributed the heckling to "environmentalists."


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