- Jan 24, 2002Zimbabwe cracks down on
Harare | Thursday
ZIMBABWEAN authorities are searching for several foreign
journalists who entered the country as tourists in defiance of a
ban on most visiting correspondents, a senior government official
said on Thursday.
The state controlled daily Herald said that its "investigations"
established that reporters from Britain's Guardian and Telegraph
newspapers, the London-based Economist, South Africa's
Sunday Times "and a few other foreign scribes" had declared
themselves as holidaymakers on arrival here and were illegally
working as journalists.
Several of the "illegal" journalists have been covering the
worsening repression in the run-up to presidential elections in
March and their reports have been published under their names in
"Our net is closing in on them and we should be able to account
for all of them by the end of the day," said George Charamba,
secretary for the department of information.
Visiting journalists have to obtain accreditation from the
information department before being allowed into the country.
Early last year, the regime ended its previously open policy and
only a handful of foreign correspondents have been granted
It says the BBC is "banned" from coming here.
"What makes the whole development quite sinister is the fact that
these journalists have got intelligence cover from a hostile state
because they are on assignment," Charamba said, without
The Herald claimed the journalists were staying in hotels and
"MDC safe houses."
The announcement came as deepening confusion surrounded
controversial information minister Jonathan Moyo's attempt to
introduce new press laws that will allow the regime to shut down
the country's independent press, stop its journalists working, and
cut off reporting to the outside world of the escalating crisis in the
Wednesday's debate on the bill was delayed for the fourth time in
just over a week, amid signs of angry opposition to the bill from
MPs of the ruling Zanu-PF party.
Meanwhile, a journalist from Madagascar who had planned to
spend her vacation with friends in Zimbabwe was turned away
when she arrived at the airport in Harare, she said from
Nivo Sahondra Randriamasimanana, a journalist for a French
magazine, Capricorne, was allowed to stay at the airport only a
few minutes before being put on the first plane leaving for
Passports from Madagascar state the holder's profession, and
when immigration authorities saw the word "journalist" they did
not even ask whether she had come to Zimbabwe for work or for
tourism, she said.
"They really treated me like a criminal," Randriamasimanana
said. Tourists to Zimbabwe can normally pay for a visa at the
airport in Harare, but journalists coming to report on the country
must apply one month in advance from their home country for a
special visa. - Sapa, AFP
And in South Africa, safety issues in schools are finally getting attention...
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