By Mutsa Makuvaza
THE PERMANENT Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana, has dismissed as malicious reports in South African media claiming that he intimidated journalists from that country using social media platforms.
The South African National Editors’ Forum (SANEF) Tuesday evening claimed that senior government officials in Zimbabwe were “abusing and intimidating” SABC journalists, including anchor Peter Ndoro and SABC Foreign Editor, Sophie Mokoena.
SANEF’s chairperson, Sbu Ngwala said his organisation is concerned by online attacks on social media, especially of women in the media:
“Those behind the abuse are intimidating, sowing disinformation and discrediting the integrity of news media outlets that report on Zimbabwe’s political crises. SANEF notes in particular the tweets by George Charamba, the Press Secretary in the Office of the President of Zimbabwe and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information of Zimbabwe, who is behind the attacks on the two SABC staffers, assisted by Nick Mangwana, Secretary for Information in Zimbabwe are creating significant professional harm. We are saying this must stop. SANEF believes that this hostile environment is a direct attack on freedom of expression.”
But an unfazed Mangwana, in a charged statement Wednesday morning, challenged the SANEF to produce evidence of such intimidation.
Said Mangwana: “Yesterday @SAEditorsForum was quoted on @SAfmnews making allegations that I intimidated @peterndoro and @Sophie_Mokoena. I enjoy good- humoured relations with journalists both local and foreign. I challenge SANEF to bring evidence of such intimidation. Editors work with proof.”
Mangwana added that asking journalists to be accountable for their content was not intimidation.
“Asking people to account is not intimidation. The Media profession has standards and when an association of editors make scurrilous claims they should surely back them up otherwise one comes to the conclusion that the profession has gone to the dogs,” he said.
“I have challenged them to prove their allegations otherwise them and their constituents are unremiting liars pushing an anti-Zimbabwe Agenda. They vicariously attached Government of Zimbabwe to their lies because of it conveniently helps push that agenda forward.”
The attrition comes as ANC Secretary General, Ace Magashule, arrived in Zimbabwe as part of a senior ANC delegation who are meeting with the top brass of the ruling ZANU-PF, over reports of crackdown on dissent in the country.
Last week, the ANC’s NEC resolved to send senior leaders to Harare.
International Relations Head Lindiwe Zulu and Peace and Stability Head, Tony Yengeni are part of the delegation. – Zimbabwe Voice