ZANU PF seeks Chinese help in media control

via ZANU PF seeks Chinese help in media control | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu  November 28, 2013

In a move seen as part of a strategy to entrench its hold on the public mind ZANU PF this week dispatched a media delegation to China, which is has one of the poorest records of media freedom in the world. The Chinese government censors all methods of communication to maintain its hold on information and power.

A 2012 Freedom House report said ‘China’s media environment remained one of the world’s most restrictive ’.

A ZBC report on Tuesday said the delegation, which is led by the party’s secretary for information and publicity Rugare Gumbo, was going on an ‘exchange programme with the Communist Party of China.’ The report said the visit was intended ‘primarily to exchange ideas on how to modernise the print and electronic media in so far as information dissemination is concerned’. Also according to the report Gumbo is expected to meet with the Communist Party’s Information Department to discuss ‘methods of countering western propaganda and improving the effectiveness of the respective departments’.

In late October information minister Jonathan Moyo and the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, discussed how China could ‘help Zimpapers to acquire a state-of-the-art printing press for its Bulawayo operations’. Lin was quoted saying China was ‘ready to assist in the development of the media industry’.

Only in August the ZBC acquired from China a state-of-the art 12 channel audio outside broadcast van, worth more than $ 1 million.

Media expert Dr Winston Mano told SW Radio Africa that Zimbabwe was seeking ‘to unlock Chinese support’ for the public media through ‘party to party relations’ as opposed to government to government corporation. Mano said China is ‘sensitive to the criticism it is receiving over its involvement in Africa’ and is trying hard to prop up its public image, hence the party to party corporation.

Mano said electronic media in Zimbabwe is badly equipped and ‘at the moment’ China is the only savior for the ZANU PF government with regards to new equipment.

Relations between ZANU PF and the Communist party back date to the 1970s liberation struggle.

Since Zimbabwe’s fall out with the West over human rights abuses and the land grab China and Zimbabwe have come closer, with the Asian giant at one time blocking UN targetted sanctions against its partner.

The visit to China comes at a time when the government is seen to be embarking on a sophisticated strategy to emasculate the media, using various tactics.

Only a few months ago Moyo embarked on a tour of media houses, with a charm offensive, urging cordial relations with his known adversaries. At the time his deputy, Supa Mandiwanzira, told the Senate that the government was in the process of licensing new radio stations to ‘get rid of pirate radio stations that have been spawning anti-Zimbabwe sentiments.’

A Thursday Herald report quoted Mandiwanzira urging media players to stop ‘spewing propaganda and politics’. Mandiwanzira warned media players that they would ‘soon be out of business’ if they persist with criticising President Mugabe and ZANU PF because ‘it has become unprofitable to do so’.

The government has been intermittently jamming SW Radio Africa broadcasts since 2005, using Chinese supplied equipment and training.



  • comment-avatar
    William Doctor 8 years ago

    Meeting to discuss ‘methods of countering western propaganda’

    Oh – you mean that western propaganda that says Mugabe murdered 20000 of his own people. The western propaganda that says that Mugabe stole at least 3 elections. The propaganda that says that zanupf is largely responsible for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy – with another meltdown on the way.

    That propaganda?

  • comment-avatar
    Boss MyAss 8 years ago

    One might want to know, as human memory is very short, who are the actual victims of Mugabe’s murderous regime, the answer is first they were the Ndebeles.then Whites..later everyone. Mugabe has always assumed that Ndebeles were by definition enemies and opponents of his regime. Remember, there was a time in the late 1980s when Mugabe tried to establish a one party state in Zimbabwe. He saw Ndebeles as a hindrance to his plans of a one-party state, hence he attempted to exterminate them.
    This “genocide” was both ideological and national in character, for in effect, it sought to annihilate an entire political spectrum from Zimbabwe’s public life by persecuting elite members of the Ndebele society.
    There is no doubt that Mugabe’s regime should be held accountable for the unprecedented levels of poverty, or what we would call social genocide. In my view, his crime stems from a deliberate reduction of the living standards of the country’s poorest and working people, because of intentionally redistributing wealth upwards and reconcentrating wealth among his cronies. Using this theory of social genocides, one can authoritatively conclude that Mugabe’s enemies (and victims) are the majority of Zimbabweans.
    In addition, Mugabe’s regime can be pursued under the 1986 Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the International Covenant on Economics, Social, and cultural Rights, echoed in part in the language quoted above from 1993 Vienna Declaration, the 1997 Maastricht Guidelines on Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the evolving General Comments of the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the findings of Special Rapporteurs on related topics. Such principles, guidelines and comments are all essential elements of the emerging normative framework of international poverty law.