Bomb fails to silence Zimbabwean newspaper
By freedomforum.org staff
The bombing of the printing
press of the Daily News has done
nothing to silence the voice of Zimbabwe's leading independent newspaper and
has brought international condemnation of the attack.
In a long editorial in yesterday's edition of the Harare-based
daily, the newspaper poses the issue this way: "Whodunnit? A question for
Noting that the war veterans and Information Minister Jonathan Moyo
are suspected in the attack on the outspoken newspaper, the editorial
"Of course, it is very difficult not to relate the virulent attacks
on this newspaper by both the war veterans and Moyo to the bomb explosions at
the printing press. To suggest that foreign agents or garden variety criminals
took advantage of this outpouring of vitriol against the paper to carry out
their own nefarious, but seemingly profitless plot, is to stretch things a
"Moyo did his bit to let the world know that his government was so
fed up with the newspaper, it was time for it to be dealt with, once and for
all," the newspaper said. "It has to be remembered that the attacks on this
newspaper — both physical and verbal — have been political. In other words,
the decisions to launch such attacks have had a political element and that can
only mean that even the police, who have recently been accused of political
bias in their operations, are going to view their investigations in that
As for the bombing itself, the editorial contended that "There had
been meticulous planning and the plot was executed with the meticulous
attention to detail that only trained professionals can bring to their
But the Daily News
expressed more concern for Zimbabwe than it did for itself.
"Our country is no longer run by a government committed to the rule of law.
This lawlessness is no longer confined to a defiance of the Judiciary. It is
definitely the beginning of the end of all the freedom we thought we won in
Meanwhile, the London-based press-advocacy group ARTICLE 19 condemned
the bombing, noting that it came "after a week of vilification and harassment
of the newspaper by the authorities and increasingly violent targeting of it by
large groups of supporters of the ruling party and government."
Also focusing on the information minister, the watchdog group noted
that although he has condemned the attack, "less than 12 hours before it was
carried out he is reported to have stated that the newspaper had a
'cynical' attitude to 'anything and everything that is nationalistic,
Zimbabwean or African' and to have said 'it is now only a matter of time
before Zimbabweans put a final stop to this madness in defense of their
cultural interest and national security.'"
ARTICLE 19 also said, "A free media is a cornerstone of democracy,
and the increasing pressure on independent news outlets shows that in Zimbabwe
democracy itself is at breaking point."
"The legitimate struggle for hearts and minds in the media has
become an unacceptable physical battle for dominance which can never be won.
The international community must make it clear to the government that its duty
lies in creating an environment where free expression can flourish," the
The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists also joined in
condemning the newspaper bombing. It wrote in a letter to Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe, "These violent attacks appear to be part of a deeply
disturbing campaign against the Daily News and its staff, which have suffered
frequent and ongoing harassment at the hands of police and top-ranking
officials" of the ruling political party.
While noting that its sources "suggest that government supporters
are responsible" for the attack, CPJ asked Mugabe "to insure that the case
is thoroughly investigated, and that the perpetrators are held accountable for
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