Even with the ban on BBC journalists and restrictions on any media working within Zimbabwe, it is clear that this wonderful country is still on a downward spiral. Robert Mugabe has a compelling ability to reach for the anti-colonial rhetoric as the reality of his people’s lives become more nightmarish by the day. But what will change the political facts is pressure from the opposition within and from African neighbours. Interesting, to see then how the news media in other African countries is finally speaking out against the Zimbabwean President.
On Thursday 150 people from Africa and around the world gather at a POLIS conference to debate the role of the news media in holding governments to account and promoting democracy and development.
It is clear that countries with free medias tend to have healthier societies and more productive economies. But does one lead to the other? It is also possible that what looks like a free media is in fact so obliged to a cabal of owners or to the patronage of the ruling elite that it is unable to speak out. In Zimbabwe there are still voices who dare to report criticially but have a read of what the officially-sanctioned press has to say and you realise why Zanu-PF still has a strangle-hold on power. Try telling Zimbabweans that the media doesn’t matter.
For a new report on Zimbabwean media and African media in general click here.