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'Anti-Zimbabwe' journalists blocked from covering elections

by Staff reporter
19 Aug 2023 at 18:31hrs | Views
Zimbabwean authorities have barred Voice Of America (VOA) journalists from covering Wednesday's general election in yet another incident involving purging of foreign media viewed unfriendly to the Zanu-PF led administration.

The VOA crew had planned to fly into the country from the broadcaster's Washington base ahead of the poll.

In a weekend statement, acting VOA Director Yolanda López confirmed journalists from the broadcaster were denied permission to cover Zimbabwe's poll.

López said she was "troubled" by the reception given to the broadcaster by Zimbabwean authorities.

"We are deeply troubled to learn that many of our international journalist colleagues were denied clearance to travel to Zimbabwe prior to Wednesday's national elections.

"Without factual and candid coverage of all candidates and issues from all perspectives, the Zimbabwe electorate will be denied access to critical news and information essential to voters as they head to the polls.

"VOA appeals to all officials to ensure open access to all media seeking to cover the Zimbabwe elections," she said.

US Bureau of African affairs expressed disappointment that the pattern of sanctions imposed on media also affected several more from other media international houses.

"Disappointed Zimbabwe denying accreditation requests to cover elections from multiple international journalists.

"The game is clear: for those who applied on time, rejection came very late and appeals not accepted; alternates don't meet the deadline of applying 60 days in advance," read the statement.

VOA, better known as Studio 7, provides news coverage for Zimbabwe in three languages; English, Shona, and Ndebele.

Its programming airs via medium wave at 909 kHz and shortwave frequencies 4930, 13755 and 15775 kHz from 1700 to 1800 daily (Zimbabwean time), as well as from 0400 to 0500 and 1800 to 1830 Monday through Friday.

The ban on VOA journalists from covering Zimbabwean elections follows similar sanctions placed on former SABC broadcaster Chris Maroleng and his three colleagues who were all deported back to South Africa with Zimbabwean authorities claiming they falsified their real visit to the country.

Maroleng is now Global Advisor and SADC Executive Director of Good Governance Africa.

Source - zimive