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Zimbabwe29 January 2002

RSF banned from Zimbabwe

Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters without Borders - RSF) denounces the refusal opposed at the embassy of Zimbabwe in Paris as one of its representatives was asking for a visa. "That refusal proves that Zimbabwean authorities still have things to hide and they would do everything to prevent that we know more about what is happening in the country", asserted Robert Ménard, general secretary of RSF. "The government promised it would authorise foreign observers and journalists to come. These are obviously lies designed to reassure the European Union" he added.

On 29 January 2002, two representatives of the embassy of Zimbabwe in Paris received the head of RSF’s bureau for Africa and announced their refusal to grant him a visa. "Your articles are too critical and you have called for sanctions against our country", explained the employees of the embassy. They added they had received instructions from Harare to ban RSF journalists from entering the Zimbabwean territory.

RSF wished to go to Zimbabwe, at the end of February, to cover the election campaign and assess the situation of press freedom in the country. The organisation reminds that in 2001, Zimbabwe has become one of the most repressive countries over the whole African continent in terms of freedom of information. Twenty local journalists were questioned and three correspondents for the foreign press were expelled from the country. Robert Mugabe, president of the Republic, belongs to the list drafted by RSF of press freedom predators throughout the world.

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