“It is regrettable that elements in the inclusive government have embarked on a total negation of that cause by targeting journalists,” he said. “We fully support media freedom and urge journalists not to be deterred by these retrogressive forces. God and people of Zimbabwe are on their side.”
Political analyst and director of Media Centre Zimbabwe Ernest Mudzengi argues that the inclusive government never brought freedom of the media as attacks continued notwithstanding its coming into being amid much expectation.
“The fact of the matter is that the government is under the control of those who are inimical to freedoms of expression and the media. It is not necessarily a case of being in election mode, but a case of thriving on dictatorship,” he said.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Abel Chikomo said no democracy can survive without a vibrant independent media and freedom of expression.
“The media should not be deterred by these attacks which are meant to stifle dissent and ensure that people remain ignorant of critical issues,” said Chikomo. “The judiciary should also play its part and avoid being influenced by the wishes of the political elite.”
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights executive director Irene Petras said media reforms outlined in the GPA were not being implemented due to sharp differences among the coalition partners.
“Unless political parties agree that media reforms are critical for the democratisation process, then the profession will continue to be in trouble,” she said.
But Petras believes that the new crackdown provides an opportunity for stakeholders to renew their energy and push for genuine reforms of the media.