Cablegate: Media Report Moyo Threatens Independent Newspapers

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. The independent press in Zimbabwe, including the Voice
of America's (VOA) Studio 7 - a program that features the
latest developments in Zimbabwe - have become endangered
projects following Information Minister Jonathan Moyo's
threats to ban the news organizations last week. According
to a lead article carried in the October 5 edition of the
independent weekly "The Standard" (circulation 45 - 50,000
copies), Moyo and the Media and Information Chairman
Tafataona Mahoso "have turned their guns at `The Standard'
and `The Zimbabwe Independent,'" including "Studio 7."
Both newspapers are registered with the Media and
Information Commission. On the same vein, the lead story
in the October 5 edition of the government-controlled
weekly "The Sunday Mail" warns against any efforts to come
to the rescue of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ), saying such moves "could jeopardize any chances of
the "Daily News" being registered if it re-applies again."
Excerpts of the articles follow:

2. Under headline "The Standard Threatened: `We are
coming to you,' says Mahoso," the independent weekly "The
Standard" (10/05) carried the following lead article by
Caiphas Chimhete:

"After shutting down "The Daily News" and "The Daily
News on Sunday," Junior Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo and Media and Information Commission
chairman Tafataona Mahoso say they have turned their
guns at "The Standard" and "The Zimbabwe
Independent." Ranting and raving at the official
launch of New ZIANA. . .an agitated Moyo made it
clear that after the closure of the two ANZ titles,
he was now after `The Standard' and `The Zimbabwe
Independent,' two newspapers he called `running dogs
of imperialism.' A highly charged Moyo said the
type of `trash' published by the newspapers, both
owned by the same company, would not be published
anywhere overseas. `They call the President
(Mugabe) a thief. Why don't they say (United States
President) George Bush is a thief and (British Prime
Minister) Tony Blair is a thief? If we were serious
people, who do not want to apologize for who we are.
. . really we would shut these papers down because
they are trash, they injure our national interest,'
ranted Moyo, who incidentally only gained national
prominence in the 1980s and 1990s by writing his
anti-Mugabe and anti-ZANU PF tirades in the private
media. Moyo also pronounced the `death' of Studio
7, a VOA news broadcasting station that beams to
Zimbabwe. `Studio 7 will die. It faces death.
They think we are sleeping, we want to see where
they are going with Studio 7,' said Moyo. . . ."

3. Under headline "Underground forces move to `Daily
News' the government-controlled weekly "The Sunday Mail"
carried the following lead story:

"The British High Commission and a host of other
organizations are clandestinely trying to assist the
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) by pouring
funds and coming up with `illegal' arrangements to
help the journalists at the two ANZ papers, it has
emerged. It is understood that these moves being
orchestrated by the British High Commission and the
Media Institute of Southern Africa, with funding
from organizations like the Konrad Adenauer
Foundation, the British Council and the United
States Agency for International Development, could
jeopardize any chances of the Daily News being
registered if it re-applies again. . . ."

4. Meanwhile, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has
distanced the government from the closure of "The
Daily News," declaring that "The Daily News" was a
"victim of the rule law." Under headline "Daily
News a victim of rule of law: Moyo" the October 4
edition of the government-controlled daily "The
Herald" (circulation 50 - 70,000) carried the
following article on page one:

"Government did not shut down the `The Daily News,'
it was a victim of the rule of law that the paper
had been preaching about since its inception in
1999, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said (on October
3). Speaking at the launch of the New ZIANA in
Harare, Prof. Moyo said `The Daily News' believed
itself to be above the law, and a law unto itself,
so it decided not to register with the Media and
Information Commission as stipulated by the law.
`The Daily News' is a victim of the rule of law
which it had been preaching since 1999,' said Prof.
Moyo. . .Prof. Moyo said the ANZ issue would
continue to be dealt with according to the law and
no amount of pressure or political interference
would be entertained. `We will not entertain any
pressure from anybody because we respect the law,'
he said. . . ."


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