SADC records more than 180 media violations last year

Windhoek- Namibia (PANA) -- Figures released Thursday by the Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) show that there were more than 180 separate incidents of violations affecting the media across southern Africa last year.
In its annual media report entitled "So this is Democracy," MISA disclosed that in terms of media violations, Zimbabwe still tops the charts with 46 violations during the period reviewed.
Next is Zambia with 31 and Angola with 24 instances of media violation.
Swaziland and Namibia are both fourth with 18 media violations, followed by Malawi with 16.
Lesotho has the lowest, with only two violations recorded.
According to MISA the worst violation was the killing of Mozambican veteran journalist Carlos Cardoso, 49, who was gunned down in Maputo last year.
The report said the beating of journalists was on the increase.
Six cases were recorded in Zimbabwe, two in Zambia and one in Angola, it said.
Bombings of media institutions took place in Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
In terms of detentions, MISA reported that nine incidents in Zimbabwe, four in Tanzania, four in Botswana, three in Angola, two each in Malawi, Zambia and Swaziland.
What put the media in Zimbabwe under siege and pushed the country up the chart of shame, MISA noted, was the violent parliamentary election in June 2000.
MISA added that political and economic turmoil in that country rippled onto the media.
The suing of media institutions appeared to be en vogue in the region, with heads of state leading the pack.
President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi is suing a newspaper for publishing a story that claimed that he masterminded a government corruption scheme, while President Sam Nujoma of Namibia has threatened dragging a newspaper to court for reporting that he owns a diamond mine in DR Congo.
In Tanzania a parliamentary candidate filed a suit against a newspaper for publishing a story alleging that he moved an election campaign into mosques.
In Angola three journalists were meted harsh punishments for defaming President Eduardo dos Santos and government officials.
MISA concluded that the media situation in the SADC region was still fragile and far from normalising.

03 may 2001 21:21:00

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