Media blackout in Zim

President Kgalema Motlanthe has been asked to intervene in Zimbabwe to stop the Harare regime from...

Failed socio-economic system in Zimbabwe. Picture: JP Du Plessis

President Kgalema Motlanthe has been asked to intervene in <?xml:namespace prefix="st1" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"?><country-region w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region> to stop the <place w:st="on"><city w:st="on">Harare regime from executing a news blackout.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa called for a reversal of the imposition of prohibitive fees on journalists operating in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region>.

The Media Commission in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region> imposed a fee of $400 000 on journalists working for foreign media in the country.<?xml:namespace prefix="o" ns="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office"?>

Media houses had to pay $10 000 to apply for accreditation and a further $20 000 if that was successful.

Foreign journalists were charged an administration fee of $2 000 and a total of $1 500 per visit.

MISA petitioned the Southern African Development Community and Motlanthe to intervene and have the astronomical fees reversed.

Reporters could be jailed for practicing without accreditation.

The organisation, Reporters Without Borders, said sky-high levies were a bid to get a news blackout on political and economic developments in <country-region w:st="on"><place w:st="on">Zimbabwe</country-region>.