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Media Violations Down, But Harare Still Tough on Critics - Watchdog

The Harare government's pledge to allow an independent media council to launch in January are being viewed by some with a measure of skepticism.

A recent report by the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa says repression of the independent media and government critics continues with the government making ample use of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or AIPPA, and the Public Order and Security Act - POSA for short.

MISA cited in particular the arrests and beatings of leaders of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions during and after a September 13 demonstration, justified by Harare under POSA. But MISA noted a decline in violations of media freedoms in 2006.

Retired CEO Samuel Sipepa Nkomo of the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, the publisher of the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday until both were shut down by the government in 2003, said he did not think media repression has abated.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe...