Sanctioned Zanu PF journalists 'incite hate' – EU

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — The European Union says six Zimbabwean state-media journalists are on a sanctions list because they incite hatred in their reporting.\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n

EU Ambassador Aldo Dell’Ariccia said Wednesday the journalists’ work could be seen as an “incitement to hatred.”

\r\n

The journalists who fiercely support President Robert Mugabe are among some 200 individuals linked to Mugabe’s party who face banking and travel bans from the EU, the US and Britain.

\r\n

The sanctions were imposed to protest years of rights violations in the southern African nation.

\r\n

Mugabe called for elections this year to end a shaky coalition with the former opposition. Independent media groups say there has since been a surge in inflammatory reporting in pro-Mugabe media outlets, which has in turn fueled political violence.

\r\n

With the world having commemorated world press freedom day this Tuesday, journalists working for the public media have slammed the west for barring some reporters from practicing their profession in the west.

Meanwhile Zanu PF stalwart and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Chief Executive Officer, Mr Happison Muchechetere, who is on the west’s sanctions list, said western nations are now abusing the concept of press freedom as they use it to terrorise governments that they believe do not follow their policies and also penalise those journalists who want to fight for their country’s freedom and sovereignty.

“Press freedom is not press anarchy, journalists should do their job without being perturbed,” he said.

Sunday Mail Assistant Editor, Munyaradzi Huni, who is also under sanctions, said media freedom has since lost its meaning to journalists working under sanctions.

“We are forced to say good things about the western nations yet on the contrary, they attack other nations,” said Huni.

ZBC News Diplomatic Correspondent, Judith Makwanya said press freedom does not exist if the media is now used to instigate the overthrow of some governments, and journalists working for the public media are barred from practicing their work in other countries.

“We are not allowed to carry out our duties in other nations because of sanctions. So you can not say this is media freedom,” she said.

\r\n

Meanwhile, Mr Aldo Dell ‘Allriccia said the EU is encouraged by the progress that the Zimbabwean parties in the inclusive government are making, citing the recent meetings held by GPA negotiators as a milestone towards the country’s development.

Mr Dell’ Alariccia was speaking to Zimbabwean journalists this Wednesday morning, ahead of the Europe Day celebrations to be held next week.

Nearly two weeks ago, Zimbabwean negotiators in the GPA agreed on a draft road map to the holding of free and fair elections in the country, and prior to that, they had also appended their signatures to the report on the progress of the GPA implementation as stipulated in the agreement.

The two documents were forwarded to the GPA principals and the South African facilitation team in preparation for the SADC Summit to be held in Windhoek, Namibia in two weeks time.

Mr Dell ‘Allariccia said the progress made by the parties in this regard is a positive development which if pursued with greater vigour, could lead to the breaking of the impasse between Zimbabwe and the EU.

“These are all encouraging signals and we are observing that. We hope that indeed the progress in that roadmap will lead to the normalisation of the situation in the country and the relationship between EU and the Zimbabwean government,” he said.

He however pointed out that some issues initially raised in 2002 when the European block imposed illegal sanctions on Robert Mugabe’s mob, such as the alleged human rights abuses and incidents of violence still existed, making it impossible for the EU to revise their position regarding the sanctions.

The progress among the parties has also been further reinforced by messages on Zimbabwe coming from the SADC region, which at its august meeting last year, set up a team to visit Brussels and some western capitals and campaign for the removal of the sanctions.

\r\n

\r\n

\r\n