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Zimbabwe Media Launch Self-Regulatory Council Despite Official Hostility

The long-delayed launch of a self-regulatory organization for Zimbabwe's journalists finally took place on Friday despite reports of opposition and threats from President Robert Mugabe's official spokesman, George Charamba.

The launch of the Zimbabwe Media Council, in the works for some years, was delayed a number of times for reasons ranging from pressure reportedly brought to bear from the government to internal disagreements among the group's founders.

Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi attended the launch and filed a report.

Organizers said that while they were encouraged by Friday's successful launch after repeated failed attempts, they did not expect the government to embrace the new institution and allow it to exercise all the powers they would like it to.

Advocacy Coordinator Abel Chikomo of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said the strong turnout and support by journalists and other stakeholders would help sustain the council as it starts work in a difficult media environment.

Chikomo told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that positive change will eventually come – but he warned this will take time.

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