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Published: 24 Sep 2003
|Sanef concerned about media freedom in Zim|
|The SA National Editors' Forum (Sanef) yesterday expressed its
concern about the clampdown on media freedom in Zimbabwe as well as
the South African government's silence on the matter, in a letter
to Foreign Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
In the letter Sanef chairman Henry Jeffreys expresses disquiet on the closure of Zimbabwe's Daily News and increasing hostility towards Zimbabwe's chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa).
"We are concerned at these developments and what appears to be a lack of firm response by your office to the violation of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
"A meeting with you to exchange views on this question would make for better understanding between us, and demonstrate responsiveness by both parties to the developments across the Limpopo," he wrote.
"Many of us in the public were led to believe that the Zimbabwean government had undertaken to SADC governments that it would amend its anti-democratic legislation concerning the media.
"Instead, we are seeing the application of this law to the Daily News, the country's largest daily paper which has been forced to close.
In addition, there are grave threats looming against Zimbabwe's chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa)," Jeffreys added.
"All this does damage not only to Zimbabwe, but to the SADC region as a whole and South Africa in particular".
In a note to the media accompanying the letter, Sanef said it had been advised that Dlamini-Zuma would be out of the country until next week and that as a result it had requested a meeting with deputy minister Aziz Pahad.
"Sanef once again reiterates its very serious concern about the situation in Zimbabwe and calls on all democratically minded people and institutions, including the South African government, to bring pressure to bear on the Zimbabwean government to reverse its undemocratic actions against the independent media in that country," the note read. – Sapa.