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State broadcaster suspends employees for leaking information

(MISA/IFEX) - Three employees with the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH), O'Brien Rwafa, Jacob Phiri and Freedom Moyo, were suspended from their positions for 10 days after being accused of leaking information on a government directive to stop covering government ministers who were members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Rwafa, Phiri and Moyo, who are employed as news editor, chief producer and bulletins manager, respectively, were suspended on full salaries pending investigations and were ordered to surrender ZBH property.

According to the weekly "Standard" newspaper in its edition of 8-14 November 2009, ZBH chief executive Happison Muchechetere refused to comment on the suspensions. Muchechetere was, however, reported as having earlier informed managers at the state broadcaster that all stories involving ministers from the MDC-T should be taken off air.

The investigations were so intense that the ZBH management board reportedly went as far as approaching a mobile cell phone operator to inquire into the number of phone calls made by the suspended managers.


BACKGROUND:

According to the privately-owned "Standard", ZBH's Muchechetere told the state broadcaster's senior editors about the government directive on 23 October. This came in the wake of the decision on 16 October by Tsvangirai and his MDC-T to partially withdraw from the inclusive government until the resolution of outstanding issues that have not been fulfilled in terms of the Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu PF, MDC-M and Tsvangirai's party.

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