"Wealth will increasingly be defined by our ability to go offline whenever we want." - Fernando Gros
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Blog // Thoughts
September 9, 2006

Journalist Paints Bleak Picture For Media In Zimbabwe

Thank you to Mark Glaser at MediaShift for posting a revealing interview with Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore. It’s a bleak picture indeed for journalists and free-speech in Zimbabwe and a tonic for those who have an unrealistically optimisitc view of the potential of the internet as an agent for change in repressive countries. How do […]

Thank you to Mark Glaser at MediaShift for posting a revealing interview with Zimbabwean journalist Frank Chikowore. It’s a bleak picture indeed for journalists and free-speech in Zimbabwe and a tonic for those who have an unrealistically optimisitc view of the potential of the internet as an agent for change in repressive countries.

How do journalists get the news out around the censorship? Do they use the Internet or blogs?

Chikowore: Unfortunately blogging is still very unpopular in Zimbabwe and most African countries. Of course the use of the Internet has enabled journalists to transmit their news and information to their readers and listeners but the cost of doing so is very [high] considering that several journalists are not gainfully employed and they live by the grace of God. In fact, journalists have been reduced to beggars in Zimbabwe. Journalists now use pseudonyms as the government continues with its onslaught against independent journalists. The cost of registering as a foreign correspondent has become inhibitive for journalists to register — hence they prefer using pseudonyms.

Do more people have Internet access now than a few years ago? Are there cyber cafes? Who can afford Net access?

Chikowore: The majority of the people have no access to the Internet in their homes. People rely on Internet cafes while those who are privileged to be working access the Internet at their work places. Even some of the employed citizens do not have Internet access as it is only restricted to their bosses. There is generally no improvement in terms of access to the Internet by the people. Although there are quite a number of Internet service providers in Zimbabwe today, the only fixed telephone provider, TelOne, is taking too long to connect phone lines which are used by subscribers to connect to the Internet. Radio link is still very unpopular and expensive for Zimbabweans.

I had the opportunity to visit Zimbabwe in 1993 and 1995 and I received warm hospitality in that wonderful country. I saw a fast developing, optimisitc and economically solid country. It is gut-wrenching to watch what has happened since then.

[tags] Zimbabwe, Journalism [/tags]

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