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Minister bans Mirror, Newsday from Gov functions


Minister bans Mirror, Newsday from Gov functions



GWERU – Midlands Minister of State and Devolution Affairs, Owen Ncube has banned journalists from The Mirror and Newsday from all Government functions in the province.
Ncube (aka Mudha) kicked out Sydney Mubaiwa (Mirror Midlands Bureau Chief) and Stephen Chadenga (Newsday) from a meeting organised by the Gender Commission and ordered them not to attend future Government engagements.
The meeting took place at the Minister’s boardroom in Gweru this morning.
Ncube asked journalists to identify themselves and then singled out the two for representing newspapers that attack Government. He ordered them to stand up and asked his security to see them out.
“Who invited you here?” he barked.
“We are building the country and discussing Government business and you are not welcome here. You are not wanted at any other Government function,” he said.
As if to spite journalists, he said to a local newspaper journalist, “Does your paper still exist? You can stay because your presence here doesn’t change anything”.
Gender Commission chairperson Margaret Mukahanana Sangarwe had invited the two journalists to the meeting ahead of the official opening the organisation’s Gweru offices.
Embarrassed Gender Commission officials apologised to the two journalists.
Gender Commission Chief Executive Officer, Virginia Muwanigwa declined to comment when called by The Mirror.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president George Maponga said journalism was not a crime. He said the Union will not accept segregation of journalists along private/public media lines adding that the Third Republic under Mnangagwa has been actively promoting Press Freedom.
“ZUJ is disturbed by reports of private media journalists being chased away from Government programmes.
“We want to make it clear that journalism is not a crime and all accredited journalists have a right to cover all events that are in the public interest. ZUJ will not accept any attempts to divide the media along private/public media lines,” he said added.
He said barring journalists from public meetings runs against the Zimbabwe Constitution.
MISA said in its statement that State and independent media journalists must enjoy equal rights in accordance with the Constitution.
“All journalists should be afforded fair and equal access to information,” said a statement from a MISA official.
Efforts to get a comment from the Minister of Information Jenfan Muswere or Zimbabwe Media Commission executive secretary Godwin Phiri were futile.

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