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Selection of Zimbabwe Media Commission Bogs Down in Political Feuding

Politics on Tuesday stymied the process of selecting members of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission with lawmakers of the former ruling ZANU-PF party accusing the Movement for Democratic Change and parliamentary consultants of bias in drawing up a short list.

The Standing Committee on Rules and Orders referred the matter to the unity government principals - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - potentially adding to their agenda of unresolved issues.

Late Monday, ZANU-PF lawmakers rejected short lists for the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Authority which reflected scoring of interviews conducted on Monday by members of the standing committee in a public hearing.

The media panel replaces the now-defunct Media and Information Commission which among other accomplishments shut down the independent Daily News paper in 2003. Its former chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, did not make the cut for the new commission, leading to protests from ZANU-PF lawmakers who charged party loyalists were excluded.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Parliament on the controversy.

London-based political analyst Brilliant Mhlanga told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the selection process should have been entrusted entirely to an independent panel made up of media professionals and members of civil society, rather than to politicians.

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