(RSF/IFEX) - Fed up with years of inactivity because of forced closures and still waiting for their newspapers to be given licences to start working again, Zimbabwe's independent media journalists are drifting in limbo - between hope and resignation - Reporters Without Borders found during a fact-finding visit to Harare from 20 to 23 March 2010, its first trip to Zimbabwe after years of being denied visas.
"The Zimbabwean press has endured enough repression in recent years," Reporters Without Borders said, pointing out that Zimbabwe is ranked 136th out of 175 countries in its press freedom index. "It is time for the government of national unity to demonstrate its will to reform press legislation and liberate the country's media. There have been enough statements. We urge the Zimbabwe Media Council to quickly grant licences to the media that request them."
During the visit to Harare, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa desk met Jameson Timba, who is the deputy minister of media and information and an adviser to the Prime Minister, human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, photojournalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere and members of the management and staff of "The Zimbabwe Independent", "The Standard", "NewsDay", "The Financial Gazette" and the defunct "Daily News".
Reporters Without Borders also met a foreign press correspondent, a state media representative, and representatives of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, the Zimbabwean Chapter (Misa-Zimbabwe), the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights (ZJHR) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR). Reporters Without Borders regrets being unable to meet the head of the Zimbabwe Media Council (ZMC), who did not want to give an interview.