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Government giving editorial directives to state media, warns MISA

(MISA/IFEX) - The "Mmegi" newspaper of 9 October 2008 has reported that the state-owned media is being given editorial directives to advance government positions on civic issues such as its fight against alcohol abuse.

The newspaper quotes 'reliable sources' saying the government has marshalled the state media to cover positively and extensively its anti alcohol abuse campaign. The directive was issued this week.

The newspaper also alleges that a similar directive was given regarding the government position on the Zimbabwe crisis. The government apparently wants extensive coverage of this issue, especially its concern that the Zimbabwe crisis in not abating, even after the signing of an inter-party unity government agreement. Subsequently the state television, BTV carried a weekly programme called "Zimbabwe: voices from within," which "dissected and debated the Zimbabwean political crisis at length."

However, the Minister of Communication Science and Technology, Hon Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi has denied the anti alcohol abuse directive and was quoted as saying, "There is no directive on that. I would have known. Whoever told you that is a liar."

The same denial came from the Director of Broadcasting, Mogomotsi Kaboyamodimo.

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