Zimbabwean newspaper editor, Davison Maruziva, said there was plenty of freedom of speech and the press in his nation, the only problem is “there is no freedom after expression.”Anyone is free to express his or her opinion, but should recognize in so doing the individual subjects their body to physical torture by the guardians of peace. The brave editor is due to appear in court next month to face charges his weekly, the Standard, printed “false statements prejudicial to the state” which one can assume entailed making negative remarks about President Mugabe. Under the benevolent rule of Mugabe, printing presses are regularly blown up, foreign press organizations banned from the country, and journalists harassed, beaten or thrown in jail.
Under the agreement signed with Mugabe by opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, there were provisions for more newspapers to be published and the public media allowed to provide “balanced and fair” coverage, but it was never made clear who decides what is “balanced and fair.” Most media people were disappointed with the agreement because it never spelled out a democratic process for the media to express its views.
The Daily News which had a circulation of 800,000 was closed down in 2003 because it refused to register with the government. Before it was closed editors and reporters were beaten and the presses wrecked. The African Union must ensure the right of newspapers to be able to print the truth.