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Zimbabwe State Media Ordered To Stop Running Voter Education Spots

Zimbabwe's state broadcasting establishment has stopped airing radio and television public service spots created by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a civil society group which deployed thousands of election monitors in the 2005 general elections.

The move by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings was said to have come at the orders of Ministry of Information Permanent Secretary George Charamba, better known as the principal spokesman for President Robert Mugabe, a candidate for re-election.

Sources cited a memorandum, subsequently leaked, from Charamba to management of the state broadcasting entity, ordering it to stop running the public service spots explaining procedures for national elections to take place on March 29.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network Chairman Noel Kututwa told reporter Carole Gombakomba that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has written to his group to say it is forbidden from airing such ads, considered to be a form of voter education, which the commission says it alone is allowed to carry out under Zimbabwean law.

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