Zimbabwe: Mugabe Attacks international 'Pirate' Radio Stations Again


Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe used an appearance at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) 'World 2009' meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday to attack the West for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe's airwaves by foreign-based radio stations.

In a speech that aptly summed up his regime's attitude towards media freedom, Mugabe told a Council of Ministers meeting that 'certain western countries had 'radio broadcasting systems' that were targeting 'his' country to further their 'obnoxious regime change agendas'.

The remarks are a continuation of threats made by Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, who last month told a study seminar of army officers that foreign-based radio stations are at 'war with Zimbabwe' . The soldiers attending a five day seminar on 'low intensity operations and asymmetric warfare' at 2 Infantry Brigade Headquarters were told to remain on guard against this threat.

In Switzerland on Wednesday Mugabe was to stun delegates further by saying the use of Information Communication Technologies was a challenge to Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He claimed there was a 'philosophy that seeks to weaponize ICT by turning them into weapons of aggression.' One blogger sarcastically suggested that Mugabe might have been talking about 'exploding handsets' or 'sub machine guns cunningly disguised as laptops. Mugabe's exact meaning remained obscure but all the same exposed his paranoia about opening up the media.

Meanwhile Newsreel asked Minister Chamisa if Mugabe's attitude towards private Zimbabwean broadcasters based outside the country reflected government policy. He said Mugabe's speech merely reflected his fears. The MDC Minister however said it was imperative for the government to licence private players because 'even if you don't licence broadcasters they will licence themselves via the Internet and other forms of ICT.' He said ICT's worldwide have helped overcome media restrictions and gave examples of countries like Iran, Venezuela and Burma.

(source : SW Radio)