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Media Monitoring Group Accuses State Broadcaster Of Inciting Violence

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe said state-controlled media have not only been highly partisan in their coverage of the presidential run-off campaign but have been using inflammatory language likely to incite violence against the opposition.

Media Monitoring Project Advocacy Coordinator Abel Chikomo said state radio and television have been giving air time to senior army officers up to Zimbabwe Defense Forces Commander Lt. Gen. Constantine Chiwenga. He said these officers have threatened those who support the Movement for Democratic Change.

A MISA bulletin said eight Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corp. employees were sent on forced leave for failing to push Mr. Mugabe's candidacy energetically enough. It said ZBC Chief Executive Officer Henry Muradzikwa was recently fired for disobeying ministerial orders to deny the MDC coverage before the March 29 elections.

Chikomo told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the state-controlled media have accused opposition members of perpetrating violence, ignoring the documented role of ZANU-PF militias in beatings and killings.

A recent MMPZ report stated that state media "remained reluctant to expose widespread reports of state-sanctioned violence against opposition supporters. They only acknowledged the existence of violence in the context of blaming it exclusively on the MDC, accusing it of terrorizing ZANU PF supporters."

It continued: "ZANU PF’s culpability only appeared in the private and international media. Consequently, all 14 incidents of politically motivated violence they recorded in (a recent week) portrayed the MDC as the aggressor and ZANU PF as the victim."

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...