US embassy cable - 01HARARE3724

ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA COVERAGE OF A/S KANSTEINER VISIT

Identifier: 01HARARE3724
Wikileaks: View 01HARARE3724 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Harare
Created: 2001-12-14 08:21:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: KPAO PREL 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.

140821Z Dec 01


                           UNCLASSIFIED     PTO0442

PAGE 01        HARARE  03724  140918Z 
ACTION AF-00    

INFO  LOG-00   NP-00    EVG-00   ACQ-00   CIAE-00  INL-00   USNW-00  
      DODE-00  DOTE-00  DS-00    EB-00    FAAE-00  UTED-00  VC-00    
      TEDE-00  INR-00   LAB-01   VCE-00   NSAE-00  TEST-00  USIE-00  
      DSCC-00  DRL-02   NFAT-00  SAS-00     /003W
                  ------------------4B695B  140918Z /38    
FM AMEMBASSY HARARE
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0542
UNCLAS HARARE 003724 
 
SIPDIS 
 
INFO INFO AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 
 
DEPT FOR AF, AF/S (DELISI, KRAFT), AF/RA (SWANN), AF/PD 
(COX, ROBERTSON) 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: KPAO, PREL, ZI 
SUBJECT: ZIMBABWEAN MEDIA COVERAGE OF A/S KANSTEINER 
VISIT 
 
 
1.   SUMMARY: ASSISTANT SECRETARY KANSTEINER'S DECEMBER 
   8-11 VISIT TO ZIMBABWE GENERATED COVERAGE IN BOTH PRINT 
   AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA.  REPORTS IN PRIVATELY OWNED PRINT 
   MEDIA WERE FACTUAL.  THE GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED ZIMBABWE 
   BROADCASTING CORPORATION DISTORTED ITS COVERAGE TO GIVE 
   THE IMPRESSION THAT THE UNITED STATES IS ATTEMPTING TO 
   BULLY ZIMBABWE.  GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED PRINT MEDIA 
   IGNORED KANSTEINER'S VISIT.  ASSISTANCE FROM EMBASSY 
   PRETORIA HELPED GET FACTUAL RADIO AND TV COVERAGE OF 
   KANSTEINER'S STATEMENTS TO INFLUENTIAL ZIMBABWEAN 
   AUDIENCES.  END SUMMARY. 
 
2.   ON DECEMBER 12, THE INDEPENDENT "DAILY NEWS" 
   PUBLISHED A STRAIGHT ACCOUNT OF A/S KANSTEINER'S 
   DECEMBER 11 PRESS CONFERENCE IN HARARE.  UNDER THE 
   HEADLINE "US ENVOY ENCOURAGES ZIMBABWE TO STEER TOWARD 
   DEMOCRACY" THE PAPER'S POLITICAL EDITOR OFFERED AN 
   ACCURATE REPORT ON THE SUBSTANCE OF THE PRESS 
   CONFERENCE AND DETAILS OF KANSTEINER'S VISIT TO 
   ZIMBABWE.  INDEPENDENT WEEKLY "THE FINANCIAL GAZETTE" 
   ALSO PUBLISHED A COMPLETE AND FACTUAL ACCOUNT OF 
   KANSTEINER'S PRESS CONFERENCE UNDER THE HEADLINE "US 
   OFFICIAL LAMBASTS (SIC) GOVERNMENT OVER RULE OF LAW." 
   SUBHEAD READ: "A SENIOR US OFFICIAL SAID THIS WEEK THE 
   RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF ZIMBABWEANS WERE UNDER THREAT, 
   BUT THERE IS STILL TIME FOR PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE'S 
   GOVERNMENT TO STEER THE COUNTRY TOWARD FREE AND FAIR 
   ELECTIONS NEXT YEAR."  THE "FINANCIAL GAZETTE" ALSO 
   PUBLISHED A FAVORABLE STORY ON US POLICY TOWARD 
   ZIMBABWE.  THAT ARTICLE WAS BASED ON AN EMBASSY PRESS 
   RELEASE ABOUT ZDERA, DISTRIBUTED AT THE KANSTEINER 
   PRESS CONFERENCE AND TO A BROAD GROUP OF INFLUENTIAL 
   ZIMBABWEANS.  COPIES OF THE "DAILY NEWS" AND "FINANCIAL 
   GAZETTE" ARTICLES HAVE BEEN FAXED TO AF/S AND AF/PD. 
 
3.   GOVERNMENT-CONTROLLED ZIMBABWE BROADCASTING 
   CORPORATION (ZBC) TV AND RADIO COVERAGE OF THE PRESS 
   CONFERENCE WAS BLATANTLY DISTORTED AND HEAVILY 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 03        HARARE  03724  140918Z 
   POLITICIZED.  IN ITS SEPTEMBER 11 PRIME-TIME NEWS 
   PROGRAM, ZBC TV REPORTED THAT KANSTEINER HAD CALLED FOR 
   SOUTHERN AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY PARLIAMENTARY 
   FORUM OBSERVATION OF ZIMBABWE'S PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. 
   THE REPORTER SAID THAT THIS WAS "IN COMPLETE VIOLATION 
   OF ZIMBABWE'S CONSTITUTION."  THE REPORT WAS FALSE, AS 
   KANSTEINER MADE NO MENTION OF SADC OBSERVATION OF 
   ZIMBABWEAN ELECTIONS.  HE DID SUGGEST THAT SADC 
   PARLIAMENTARY FORUM NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR ELECTIONS 
   WOULD PROVIDE A GOOD BENCHMARK FOR EVALUATING THE 
   FAIRNESS OF ZIMBABWE'S ELECTIONS, BUT THE ZBC SEEMS TO 
   HAVE MISSED THE POINT.  NONE OF THE OTHER 17 NEWS 
   ORGANIZATIONS AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE MISUNDERSTOOD 
   KANSTEINER'S STATEMENTS.  THE EMBASSY RESPONDED 
   IMMEDIATELY TO THIS DISTORTION WITH A PRESS RELEASE 
   CORRECTING THE ZBC'S REPORT.  ZBC TV AND RADIO COVERAGE 
   OF THE PRESS CONFERENCE ALSO INCLUDED HEAVY 
   EDITORIALIZING, CLAIMING THAT U.S. POLICY TOWARD 
   ZIMBABWE WAS "ILLEGAL," THAT ZDERA WOULD HURT THE 
   COMMON CITIZEN, AND THAT AMERICAN CRITICISM OF ZIMBABWE 
   WAS DUE TO OPPOSITION TO LAND REFORM. 
 
4.   GOVERNMENT-OWNED NEWSPAPERS FAILED TO REPORT ON 
   THE KANSTEINER VISIT.  A/S KANSTEINER CEREMONIALLY 
   DELIVERED USG DONATIONS TO LOCAL HIV/AIDS 
   ORGANIZATIONS, BUT THE "HERALD" REPORT ON THE DONATION 
   SOMEHOW OMITTED MENTION OF HIS PRESENCE AT THE 
   CEREMONY. 
 
5.   A/S KANSTEINER ALSO GAVE INTERVIEWS TO THE BBC, E- 
   TV AND THE SABC DURING HIS VISIT TO SOUTH AFRICA. 
                       UNCLASSIFIED 
 
PAGE 04        HARARE  03724  140918Z 
   THESE BROADCASTS REACHED ZIMBABWEAN ELITE THROUGH 
   SATELLITE TELEVISION AND SHORT-WAVE RADIO, AND HELPED 
   GIVE OPINION 

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