Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Intelligence buys independent media--with tax dollars

In news that has sent shockwaves through the Zimbabwean media, the Independent reported on Friday that Zimbabwe's intelligence, the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) has been silently effecting a coup on independent newspapers in the country. The expose describes an elaborate scheme in which the intelligencia has seized controlling stakes in three of Zimbabwe's independent labes; The Financial Gazette, The Daily Mirror, and the Sunday Mirror.

The covert operation that could only be funded from the government's fiscus, has seen the CIO assume operating costs for the Mirror labels and stage a boardroom coup at at the Financial Gazette. They reportedyly attempted to take over the Tribune stable as well.

The article alleges that the operation was hashed to secure government control of the independent newspapers because the popularity of their state's propaganda machinery has sagged behind for years owing to poor journalism and a lack of fundinding.
"Sources said the CIO grand plan was to buy into as many private papers as possible to win the hearts and minds of an increasingly sceptical population amid deteriorating social and economic conditions."
The Daily News, which was forced down by the government, was Zimbabwe's most popular daily after eclipsing the Herald's circulation figures in a few months of its' launch.

On Monday, NewZimbababwe.com reported that the governments security department was all huffed up over the article and called emergency meetings to deal with the developing scandal.

Ibbo Mandaza and Kindness Paradza publishers of the Mirror and Tribune papers both refuted claims that they knew of a CIO takeover in their papers. Both however said they could not deny that CIO could have placed some its operatives within their organization.

  • << Home