US embassy cable - 01HARARE897

GREATER SOPHISTICATION AND THOROUGHNESS CHARACTERIZE GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST INDEPENDENT MEDIA

Identifier: 01HARARE897
Wikileaks: View 01HARARE897 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2001-03-02 11:32:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: PHUM PGOV KPAO PINS PINR KDEM ZI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

021132Z Mar 01


                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTO6903

PAGE 01        HARARE  00897  01 OF 02  070830Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   COR-01   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00  
      SMEC-00  USNW-00  DINT-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00  
      DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01     
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01    
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00   
      ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  R-00     
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00   
        /011W
                  ------------------CEA125  071115Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8335
INFO NSC WASHDC
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 000897 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D COPY-CLASSIFIED BY LINE ADDED 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S, AF/PD (COX, HOWARD, SANDERS) 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  00897  01 OF 02  070830Z 
 
LONDON FOR GURNEY 
 
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA C. PALMA 
 
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/11 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, KPAO, PINS, PINR, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: GREATER SOPHISTICATION AND THOROUGHNESS 
CHARACTERIZE GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST INDEPENDENT 
MEDIA 
 
 
CLASSIFIED BY PAO D. BRUCE WHARTON FOR REASONS 1.5B AND D. 
 
------- 
SUMMARY 
------- 
 
1. (C) IN ITS INTENSIFYING EFFORT TO CONTROL INFORMATION 
AVAILABLE TO THE PUBLIC, THE GOVERNMENT CONTINUED TO 
HARDEN ITS APPROACH TOWARD THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA.  THE 
GOVERNMENT OF ZIMBABWE (GOZ) IS PURSUING A TWO-PRONGED 
APPROACH: CAREFUL CONTROL OF THE CONTENT AND "SPIN" OF 
NEWS REPORTED BY THE STATE-OWNED MEDIA; AND CONSTANT 
CHALLENGES TO THE INDEPENDENT AND FOREIGN MEDIA'S 
ABILITY TO WORK.  BEHIND-THE-SCENES EFFORTS BY THE 
STATE-OWNED AND THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA CONTINUE AS BOTH 
SIDES JOCKEY TO STRENGTHEN THEIR POSITIONS.  THE GOZ 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  00897  01 OF 02  070830Z 
CONTINUES TO PURSUE ITS AUTHORITARIAN INCLINATIONS WHILE 
THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA CONTINUE TO SHOW COURAGE AND 
TENACITY.  END SUMMARY. 
 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
GOVERNMENT SYMPATHIZER ANNOUNCES NEW DAILY PAPER 
--------------------------------------------- --- 
 
2. (C) THE WEEKLY "MIRROR" ANNOUNCED IN ITS FEBRUARY 23 
EDITION THAT IT WOULD LAUNCH "THE DAILY MIRROR" ON MAY 
1.  "THE MIRROR" IS PUBLISHED BY PROFESSOR IBBO MANDAZA, 
A ZIMBABWEAN POLITICAL SCIENTIST AND DIRECTOR OF THE 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN POLITICAL ECONOMY SERIES (SAPES) TRUST, 
A HARARE-BASED POLITICAL RESEARCH INSTITUTION.  THE 
PUBLISHER IS PRACTICED IN THE ART OF DECEPTION. 
ALTHOUGH MANDAZA DENIES THAT "THE MIRROR" SUPPORTS THE 
GOVERNMENT AND ZANU-PF, EDITORIALS, THE WEEKLY ANONYMOUS 
"SCRUTATOR" COLUMN (WRITTEN BY MANDAZA) AND EDITORIAL 
DECISIONS LEAVE LITTLE DOUBT OF THE NEWSPAPER'S 
POLITICAL ORIENTATION.  "THE MIRROR'S" TARGET AUDIENCE 
IS EDUCATED, URBAN ZIMBABWEANS.  "THE MIRROR" CLAIMS 
CIRCULATION OF ABOUT 20,000 PER WEEK (PROBABLY 
OPTIMISTIC), AND CONTAINS VERY LITTLE ADVERTISING. 
SINCE ITS LAUNCH IN EARLY 1999, ITS ABILITY TO SURVIVE 
FINANCIALLY HAS BEEN SOMETHING OF A MYSTERY.  THE PAPER 
INITIALLY RECEIVED SOME SUPPORT FROM THE SOUTHERN AFRICA 
MEDIA DEVELOPMENT FUND (SAMDEF), BUT WAS TURNED DOWN IN 
2000 FOR FUNDING FOR A DAILY PAPER.  SPECULATION IN 
HARARE IS THAT "THE MIRROR'S" OPERATING COSTS ARE 
SUBSIDIZED BY SAPES REVENUES AND THROUGH FINANCIAL 
SUPPORT FROM ZANU-PF.  IF "THE DAILY MIRROR" DOES APPEAR 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  00897  01 OF 02  070830Z 
AS ADVERTISED ON MAY 1, IT WILL OFFER A MORE 
SOPHISTICATED COUNTERPART TO THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED 
DAILY "THE HERALD."  IT WILL ALSO BE SOMETHING OF A 
FINANCIAL WONDER, THE ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA EQUIVALENT OF THE 
MIRACLE OF THE LOAVES AND FISH. 
 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
TIGHTENING ACCREDITATION OF FOREIGN JOURNALISTS 
--------------------------------------------- -- 
 
3. (C) THE JOHANNESBURG-BASED REGIONAL CORRESPONDENT FOR 
THE "WASHINGTON POST," JON JETER, TOLD US THAT HE 
ENCOUNTERED A NEWLY CUMBERSOME PROCESS FOR GAINING A 
PRESS CREDENTIAL IN ZIMBABWE.  SINCE JUNE 2000 THE 
PROCESS HAS BEEN SIMPLE AND FAST, IF SOMEWHAT EXPENSIVE. 
IN THE PAST, FOREIGN JOURNALISTS SIMPLY HAD TO GO TO THE 
INFORMATION MINISTRY, PRODUCE A PHOTO ID AND LETTER FROM 
THEIR EMPLOYER, PAY (U.S.) $100 (IN US CURRENCY, 
PLEASE), AND WERE ISSUED A WORK PERMIT ON THE SPOT. 
THAT PERMIT WAS GOOD FOR UP TO 3 MONTHS.  UPON ARRIVAL 
IN HARARE ON FEBRUARY 27, JETER FOUND A MORE COMPLICATED 
PROCEDURE.  HE WAS ASKED TO PROVIDE DETAILS ABOUT THE 
STORIES HE INTENDED TO FILE, THE PEOPLE HE WANTED TO 
MEET, AND THE AREAS HE WISHED TO VISIT.  HIS PRO-FORMA 
LETTER FROM THE "WASHINGTON POST" WAS ALSO QUESTIONED 
AND HE WAS TOLD THAT FOR FUTURE VISITS HE NEEDED TO 
PROVIDE A MORE SPECIFIC LETTER, ON OFFICIAL COMPANY 
LETTERHEAD.  JETER WAS GIVEN A CREDENTIAL, BUT IT TOOK 
24 HOURS INSTEAD OF THE HERETOFORE-USUAL 30 MINUTES. 
JETER WAS ALSO TOLD BY AN OFFICIAL OF THE MINISTRY OF 
INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY THAT THE PROCESS WAS LIKELY TO 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 05        HARARE  00897  01 OF 02  070830Z 
BECOME MORE DIFFICULT WHEN NEW REGULATIONS GOVERNING 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
                           CONFIDENTIAL     PTO6904 
 
PAGE 01        HARARE  00897  02 OF 02  070831Z 
ACTION AF-00 
 
INFO  LOG-00   COR-01   NP-00    AID-00   AMAD-00  ACQ-00   CIAE-00 
      SMEC-00  USNW-00  DINT-00  DODE-00  DOEE-00  DOTE-00  SRPP-00 
      DS-00    EB-00    EUR-00   FAAE-00  FBIE-00  VC-00    H-01 
      TEDE-00  INR-00   IO-00    LAB-01   L-00     VCE-00   AC-01 
      NSAE-00  OIC-02   OMB-01   OPIC-01  PA-00    PM-00    PRS-00 
      ACE-00   P-00     SP-00    STR-00   TRSE-00  USIE-00  R-00 
      PMB-00   DSCC-00  PRM-01   DRL-02   G-00     NFAT-00  SAS-00 
        /011W 
                  ------------------CEA13E  071115Z /38 
R 021132Z MAR 01 
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE 
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 8336 
INFO NSC WASHDC 
AMEMBASSY LONDON 
AMEMBASSY PARIS 
SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY 
AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 
 
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 02 HARARE 000897 
 
SIPDIS 
 
C O R R E C T E D COPY - CLASSIFIED BY LINE ADDED 
 
DEPT FOR AF/S, AF/PD (COX, HOWARD, SANDERS) 
 
NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR JENDAYI FRAZER 
 
LONDON FOR GURNEY 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 02        HARARE  00897  02 OF 02  070831Z 
 
PARIS FOR WILLIAMS 
 
PASS USAID FOR AFR/SA C. PALMA 
 
NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/13/11 
TAGS: PHUM, PGOV, KPAO, PINS, PINR, KDEM, ZI 
SUBJECT: GREATER SOPHISTICATION AND THOROUGHNESS 
CHARACTERIZE GOVERNMENT CAMPAIGN AGAINST INDEPENDENT 
MEDIA 
 
CLASSIFIED BY PAO D. BRUCE WHARTON FOR REASONS 1.5B AND D. 
 
FOREIGN MEDIA WORK IN ZIMBABWE ARE PUBLISHED.  JETER WAS 
TOLD THAT TELEVISION CREWS WOULD FIND THE PROCESS 
ESPECIALLY TOUGH.  JETER'S EXPERIENCE AND THE WARNING OF 
TOUGHER NEW ACCREDITATION PROCESSES ARE CONSISTENT WITH 
INFORMATION AND PUBLICITY MINISTER MOYO'S STATEMENTS 
AFTER THE FEBRUARY EXPULSION OF THE BBC AND "WEEKLY MAIL 
AND GUARDIAN" CORRESPONDENTS. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
"DAILY NEWS" CLOSE TO ACQUIRING NEW PRINTING PRESS 
--------------------------------------------- ----- 
 
4. (C) THE "DAILY NEWS," WHICH HAS HEROICALLY PUBLISHED 
AN EDITION EVERY DAY SINCE THE JANUARY BOMBING AND 
DESTRUCTION OF ITS PRESSES, IS ON THE VERGE OF SIGNING A 
CONTRACT FOR THE PURCHASE OF A NEW (U.S.)$4 MILLION 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  00897  02 OF 02  070831Z 
PRINTING PRESS.  PRIVATE DONATIONS AND CORPORATE 
FINANCIAL RESOURCES HAVE RAISED ABOUT ONE-HALF OF THE 
PURCHASE PRICE.  THE BALANCE IS BEING PROVIDED VIA A 
LOAN FROM THE SOROS FOUNDATION'S MEDIA DEVELOPMENT ARM, 
THE OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATION.  DELIVERY AND SET-UP OF THE 
PRESS WILL TAKE ABOUT 6 MONTHS FROM THE TIME THE 
CONTRACT IS SIGNED.  IMPORTATION OF THE PRESS MAY BE A 
CHALLENGE IF THERE IS ANY SUBSTANCE BEHIND MINISTER 
JONATHAN MOYO'S THREATS TO BAN FOREIGN DONATIONS TO THE 
ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA. 
 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
ZIMBABWEAN BUSINESSMEN SHORE UP INDEPENDENT MEDIA 
--------------------------------------------- ---- 
 
5. (C) ZIMBABWE'S TWO MOST SUCCESSFUL ENTREPRENEURS, 
STRIVE MASIYIWA (ECONET WIRELESS) AND NIGEL CHANAKIRA 
(KINGDOM FINANCIAL HOLDINGS) HAVE MADE MAJOR INVESTMENTS 
IN THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA.  THE TWO HAVE CREATED A 
HOLDING COMPANY, THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA GROUP (IMG) THAT 
HAS BOUGHT CONTROLLING SHARES IN ASSOCIATED NEWSPAPERS 
OF ZIMBABWE (ANZ), THE PARENT COMPANY OF THE "DAILY 
NEWS."  IMG HAS ALSO BOUGHT LARGE, THOUGH NOT 
CONTROLLING AMOUNTS, OF STOCK IN THE "ZIMBABWE 
INDEPENDENT" AND THE "STANDARD."  THESE ARE IMPORTANT 
INVESTMENTS AS THEY PROVIDE A MUCH-NEEDED FINANCIAL 
CUSHION TO ALL THREE PAPERS AND BRING THEM INTO THE 
ORBIT OF ZIMBABWE'S MOST TALENTED AND SUCCESSFUL 
BUSINESSMEN.  (NB: BOTH MASIYIWA AND CHANAKIRA WERE 
THREATENED BY GOZ-ENGINEERED LAWSUITS IN 2000 WHEN IT 
BECAME APPARENT THAT NEITHER OF THE MEN SUPPORTED ZANU- 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  00897  02 OF 02  070831Z 
PF.  SINCE MID-2000 MASIYIWA HAS LIVED IN SOUTH AFRICA, 
REPORTEDLY TO AVOID HARASSMENT BY GOVERNMENT OR ZANU-PF 
OFFICIALS AND SUPPORTERS.  END NB.)  IMG'S CREATION 
BODES WELL FOR THE SURVIVAL OF THE INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN 
ZIMBABWE. 
 
IRVING 
 
                       CONFIDENTIAL 
 
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