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Accreditation for Zim coverage increased

Zimbabwean officials raised the fees for foreign journalists applying for accreditation in the crumbling...

Journalists at a press conference. Picture: Taurai Maduna/Eyewitness News

Zimbabwean officials raised the fees for foreign journalists applying for accreditation in the crumbling African state, but President Robert Mugabe’s draconian media laws remained firmly in place and were being enforced by his security forces.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Foreign news agencies wishing to register to work in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region> would pay over 278 000 South African rand significantly up from last year’s fee of more R185 000.

The question remained whether foreign news agencies would be willing to pay more than a quarter of a million rand to line the coffers of the Zimbabwean government when most agencies were banned from reporting within the country’s borders.

The agencies would then have to add the cost of legal fees to free their journalists from possible detention should they give unfavourable coverage and the cost of generating a story from inside <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region> seemed to skyrocket beyond any reasonably comprehension.

Also considering the Zimbabwean government had the right to recall media accreditation whenever it deemed fit the price it attached to accreditation seemed nothing more than a bid to raise funds for the Zanu-PF’s already swelling bank account.