The move was widely condemned as vindictive as it came after the Herald’s publisher, a
ruling party MP and journalist, Kindness Paradza, attacked AIPPA in parliament as an
undemocratic law. Hundreds of journalists and other media workers lost their jobs as the third
national newspaper was forced to close under the repressive weight of AIPPA.
Unlike other countries elsewhere in the region, where heads of state and government meet
with senior media practitioners, similar meetings, which President Robert Mugabe used to
convene annually, were abandoned a long time ago. One would have to scratch one’s head to
remember when President Mugabe last called a news conference with local journalists to discuss
issues of national importance.
“Absolute control”
Instead, the media environment saw Moyo entrenching his absolute control over all state media
apparatus following dubious but far-reaching restructuring exercises which saw experienced
journalists and media workers being thrown into the streets to make way for pliable professionals
who were at Moyo’s beck and call.
His perceived enemies within and without the ruling party were shut out of the mainstream
government-controlled media, leaving the ordinary Zimbabwean lost as to what exactly was
going on in government circles and who was in control where it concerned policy formulation
and government socio-economic and political ideology.
Moyo achieved this media black-out through the aid of anti-media freedom and freedom of
expression laws such as AIPPA, Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA).
Tightening the noose
To ensure the government’s free reign in the conduct of national affairs without intrusion from
its perceived enemies, the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Bill was introduced in
Parliament for the purpose of tightening laws such as POSA, which pose serious impediments
to freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, association and movement.
So This Is Democracy? 2004


Media Institute of Southern Africa


Almost all private newspapers were either warned or threatened with closure. These incessant
threats culminated in the closure of the Tribune in June.


The threat of closure


Because of the ambiguity and contradictions in the law, the excuses used to threaten newspapers
were never in short supply.


The MIC, a statutory regulatory body established under AIPPA, consistently and persistently
attacked the private media, threatening them with closure whenever they were perceived as
having stepped on the government’s toes.


The Government, through the Department of Information, accused private newspapers of serving
the “imperialist interests” of the British and United States governments. Zimbabwe has always
maintained that the two countries are fighting to reverse the gains of the controversial statesanctioned occupations of prime commercial farmland.


Relations between the government and the private media have never been cordial - not that
they necessarily should be - but the situation deteriorated even further during 2004.


State of the media in Southern Africa - 2004

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