Media to be scrutinised

HARARE - Zimbabwe is planning to screen foreign media intending to cover coming elections amid suspicions that uninvited observers and security personnel might impersonate Western reporters, state media reported yesterday.

HARARE - Zimbabwe is planning to screen foreign media intending to cover coming elections amid suspicions that uninvited observers and security personnel might impersonate Western reporters, state media reported yesterday.

Accreditation of some 300 foreign journalists who applied to cover the country's March 29 general elections will be closely supervised, as the government was aware of "the machinations to turn journalists into observers", information secretary George Charamba told the state-run Sunday Mail.

Preference would be given to reporters from Africa and the "national identity of the news organisations will be a major determinant", he added.

Besides Africa, journalists from Europe, North America and Asia have applied to cover the event.

"Media accreditation is an information issue as it is a foreign policy issue," Charamba said.

Zimbabwe has invited SADC and 46 regional groups to monitor voting, along with China, Russia and Iran with whom President Robert Mugabe enjoys relatively good relations.

EU member states and the US - which both accused Mugabe of rigging his re-election in 2002 - have not been invited. - Sapa

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