Moyo sheds crocodile tears for press freedom

via Moyo sheds crocodile tears for press freedom | SW Radio Africa by Nomalanga Moyo on Monday, May 5, 2014

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has criticised the police for preventing journalists from marching to mark World Press Freedom Day over the weekend.

The marchers, who included journalists and media activists, had planned to walk from Chinhoyi Street to Africa Unity Square, the venue for the event.

The organisers, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radios (ZACRAS) and the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), say police cleared the event last month.

However on Saturday anti-riot police told the marchers to disperse, and that permission had been withdrawn “due to other events of national interest”.

In a joint statement the two media groups said the ban “flies against the spirit of press freedom and access to information which is universally celebrated May 3rd.

“The ban is an outright violation of Constitutional provisions which seek to promote media freedom and access to information.

“The media space, especially in broadcasting, is still constricted. Journalists are still being arrested as they would still have been in 2008. We have not seen any huge appetite to align our media laws to the new constitution,” the groups said.

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, whose ministry had been invited to the press event, reacted to its ban with his own hard-hitting statement blasting the police.

Moyo described the 11th hour ban as politically-motivated, “unconstitutional and without any transparent, rational or constructive justification”.

“It should be placed on the record that the kneejerk propensity to always and everywhere use or show force for its own sake is not revolutionary by any stretch of the imagination,” part of Moyo’s statement reads.

But civil rights activists say Moyo is just paying lip service to press freedom and until his government repeals the much-hated Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), of which he was the chief architect, he is shedding crocodile tears.

“Moyo is as dirty and as guilty as they come. Surely, he must think that we forget so fast that he is the father AIPPA. If he wants us to give him the slightest of the benefit of the doubt, he must push for the repeal of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and AIPPA,” said Mfundo Mlilo, Crisis in Zim Coalition spokesman.

Another campaigner, Mmeli Dube, dismissed Moyo as a “top-notch grandstander” who has managed to fool even journalists into thinking that he is on their side.

Dube added: “Moyo has been grandstanding and some impressionable people are ululating. As part of ZANU PF he is collectively guilty of the corruption that he has been exposing, for whatever motives.

“This posturing extends to the minister’s engagements with the media. If Moyo was genuinely against the police for banning the Press Freedom Day march, why did he not do something to ensure it went ahead? We want more,” Dube said.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said the right to press freedom provided for in the constitution, should not only be on paper but in practice as well.

“For as long as the current laws are not aligned to the new Constitution the police will continue to act within the confines of the law, regardless of their unconstitutionality. This is why POSA, AIPPA and other laws that infringe on media freedom should be dealt with urgently,” the media rights group said.

Gerry Jackson is the founder and station manager of SW Radio Africa. In 2000 she challenged the government’s broadcasting monopoly in the Supreme Court and won the right to set up the first independent radio station in Zimbabwe.  Robert Mugabe overturned the court ruling and had the station shut down at gunpoint, and its equipment was seized. The man making sure this happened was Jonathan Moyo. With the help of lawyer Terence Hussein, Jonathan Moyo then crafted the broadcasting act to ensure that there was no hope of any independent broadcasters in the future. And that situation remains to this day.

She said she hoped Zimbabweans were seeing through Moyo’s deception.

“I hope no one believes anything Jonathan Moyo says. The ZANU PF strategy at the moment is to be recognised as legitimate by the international community.

“Right now some ZANU PF chefs appear to be saying the right thing – Mugabe backtracking on indigenisation, Moyo pretending to be on the side of press freedom. This makes the international community hope that change might come from within ZANU PF. But there’s a well know saying – the dictator is not the solution, he’s the problem.

“And Jonathan Moyo is the dictator’s way of controlling the media. He absolutely controls the state media and remains one of the worst predators of press freedom in Zimbabwe today,” Jackson added.

 

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15 comments on “Moyo sheds crocodile tears for press freedom
  1. truth says:

    moyo was genuine u failed to see truth again but moyo do not hav power.

  2. Tjingababili says:

    SAUL IS NOW PAUL! AMEN!

  3. Justice says:

    Mugabe and Moyo et al are all playing us for fools…again!

  4. Moses says:

    with so many intelligent ,talented and capable people in our community how on earth have we ended up with such a bunch of incompetent charlatans in office.

  5. Mseyamwa says:

    Statements do not mean any change and people should see through the charade. Even as they speak of change on indigenization they say there will be no repealing or amending of the law to reflect their new thinking and the same goes fo AIPPA and POSA. They want to use the same to crush us once they have achieved what they are aiming for, which is, a clean international image leading to new investments, esp FDI. Not sincere.

  6. Bazur Wa Kumuzi says:

    Failure to understand that there is collective responsibility hence collective functionality of the government renders people not only naive but also leaves them in absolute and dangerous quandary. Aippa were crafted by Moyo while he was in the Ministry of Information at that given time. he even left the government and became a victim of that very law.K It is important to know that during its crafting the Minister followed the collectively set up guidelines for the piece of law. It did not come from a bedroom. A number of other Ministers had their input as well. That is why the law continued to work when Moyo had left.It exposes a serious lack of understanding to say that Moyo must change that or this law as an individual. Now as Minister Moyo has criticized the police for banning journalists. He has put it in black and white for everyone to read but no he is telling lies. No he must not be believed. We must believe what he did only and not what he does now. This sounds like simple political jealous or shallow and populist rhetoric to criticize just for the sake of doing so. The standing evidence is that the police banned journalists and the Minister attacked the police. This move must be encouraged as it leads to openness and accountability and exposes evil tendencies by the generally repressive police.

    • Ngoto Zimbwa says:

      Since when has ZANU kept its word?
      So many promises and the country is on the brink, again!

      These guys have been lying from when they took office and to bandy accusations of political jealousy and populist rhetoric is to take the piss in a big way.
      Either that, or to have one’s head so stuck up ZANU’s backside, one cannot see for looking.

  7. Jrr56 says:

    Do NOT trust them. Moyo has his own agenda, he is a poisonous snake that will bite you if you give him a chance.

  8. Gomogranny says:

    There is absolutely NO SHAME with this bunch. Yesterday they set the police and CIO on anybody who poked their pen above the parapet. Now they stand and chirp a song about police limiting press freedom. ZANU’s police (dogs) just can’t keep up with all the multiple instructions and tugging on their leashes…. All we can do is laugh at these useless comedians.

  9. Ngoto Zimbwa says:

    …..“due to other events of national interest”.

    As a Minister, Moyo would have been aware of these “other events” and been appraised of the need to ban the march.
    The guy is spewing a load of hogwash.

    I go with the poisonous snake sentiment from Jrr56.
    People should not even listen to this reptile.

  10. Petal says:

    Nice try Johnny but it will not work!!

  11. The Oracle says:

    I agree with Tjingababili, Saul can indeed become Paul. I see Moyo as the agent of change and I don’t see why people should say his statement was insincere. It will take time for change to take effect. Let us be grateful that Moyo, at least, recognises and condemns the unnecessary abuse of power. What he needs is support not condemnation.

  12. msizeni silwelani says:

    The event would be simple rescheduled so Moyo and znu pf functionaries participate and guess who gets the credit.

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