17 February 2011

Zimbabwe: Newspaper Vendors Harassed

press release

Vendors selling Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) independent newspapers, which include "Newsday" and other leading South African publications, are reportedly being harassed by suspected supporters of the Zimbabwe African National Union - Political Front (Zanu-PF) political party and state agents.

MUNN Marketing's operations manager, Nick Ncube, said readers seen buying "Newsday", "The Standard" and "The Zimbabwe Independent" are being harassed. MUNN Marketing is the distributor of the AMH products.

On 11 February 2011, thugs tore up copies of the independent newspapers along Kwame Nkrumah and Park Street in Harare, and told the vendors never to display them again.

Ncube said several of their vendors were now unwilling to sell the papers, fearing for their lives.

Harassment of vendors selling privately-owned newspapers recently intensified. On 7 February, vendors selling copies of "Newsday" were reportedly assaulted by alleged Zanu-PF youths, who accused the paper of being anti-government. Copies of the newspaper were destroyed.

In January, soldiers in Gutu allegedly banned vendors from selling the Masvingo province's weekly independent newspaper, "The Mirror", after it published a story alleging that army personnel had beaten up people at the Mupandawana Growth Point on Christmas Eve.

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