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Zimbabwean Information Minister Threatens to Revoke Independent Media Licenses


Information Minister Shamu said independent media organizations were abusing their privileges by publishing information premised on falsehoods - this a reference to the recent spate of US cables by Wikileaks

Zimbabwean Information Minister Webster Shamu has threatened to revoke the licenses of foreign and local independent media which he accuses of attacking the leadership of the country and President Robert Mugabe in particular.

Speaking at a ZANU-PF conference in Mutare, capital of eastern Manicaland province, Shamu charged that foreign and local media organizations were abusing their journalistic privileges by publishing information premised on falsehoods - this an allusion to the recent release of by Wikileaks of US diplomatic cables regarding Zimbabwe.

Shamu warned that although the government is willing to accept criticism, vilification of the highest office in the land would lead to measures against such actions.

Minister Shamu also charged so-called pirate radio stations broadcasting from Britain and America of intensifying the regime change agenda in a campaign intended to influence the outcome of the elections expected to be held next year.

Raphael Khumalo, chief executive officer of Alpha Media Holdings, publisher of Newsday and the weekly Independent and Standard papers, told VOA's Sithandekile Mhlanga his company will only take Shamu’s threats seriously if he approaches them formally, adding that his publishing group is merely carrying out its mandate to readers.

Chairman Njabulo Ncube of the Media Institute of Southern Africa's Zimbabwe chapter told reporter Tatenda Gumbo that the same rules must apply to all media in the country, whether independent or part of the extensive stable of state-controlled outlets.

Deputy Information Minister Murisi Zwizwai of the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told reporter Violet Gonda that Shamu has not advanced media reform and he has referred this to the principals in the national unity government that has run Zimbabwe since February 2009.

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