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Fake news

19 Mar 2017 at 16:27hrs | Views
Donald Trump won the US presidency partly because he persuaded ordinary Americans that there was an alternative truth to that being presented to them by the mainstream media. Anything he didn't like he dismissed as 'fake news'.

This is not a new phenomenon, as Zimbabweans must know well. Cathy Buckle talks about much the same thing in her latest letter from Zimbabwe. She says one of the largest drains on Zimbabwe's foreign exchange is the cost of subscription television services from abroad because people don't believe ZBC and are bored out of their minds by it anyway.

The government controlled press is also adept at fake news. Take Friday's report in the Herald about the UN Human Rights Council's meeting in Geneva. It begins: 'Zimbabwe scored big here when the United Nations adopted its November 2016 Universal Periodic Report highlighting the human rights situation in the country, as member-states applauded Government efforts and commitment at ensuring enjoyment of various rights by citizens.'

Talk about alternative reality! The real picture is rather different. If you look into the composition of the Council you will find that it is packed with serial human rights abusers such as North Korea, China, Iran,  Belarus, Turkey, Venezuela and Cuba. There are many African member countries as well but they vote in shameless solidarity with brother Africans.

These countries predictably ignored a submission by human rights organisations expressing concern that human rights defenders in Zimbabwe 'continue to face harassment, arbitrary arrests and torture for exercising their freedoms to assemble and of expression'.

Also dwelling in an alternative world is former Vice President 'Dr' Joice Mujuru whose failings were forensically examined by Stephen Sackur of the BBC Hardtalk programme.

'What a plump chicken I see before me', he might well have thought as he plucked another feather from Mugabe's long-time bag carrier.

What emerged from the interview was a woman whose husband had been murdered by her boss but who nevertheless chose to hang onto her job. The ancient Greeks would have seen this as a subject for a tragedy. For Zimbabweans it is just life. Joice showed herself to be lying and self-serving.  She bleated: 'I could do nothing. I was not guilty. I was only Vice President. I knew nothing. I spent my 30+ years in government only doing good for people etc.'

By the end of the interview the chicken feathers were knee deep in the BBC studio. The Vigil thinks that any group allying itself with her is taking a big risk with its credibility.  And that's not fake news.

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Source - ZimVigil
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