Reporters Without Borders has protested against the bombing early today of
the Voice of The People, a private radio station in Harare which has often
been criticized by the government. The station was badly damaged but no one
"We urge you to conduct a thorough investigation into this explosion and to inform us of its progress", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general
Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior Minister Kembo Mohadi. "The
authorities must give a clear signal that such actions will not go
unpunished", the letter said. It noted that radio is especially important as
it is the media used by most Zimbabweans to keep up with the news.
A guard was the only person at the radio station when the attack took place
in the early hours of 29 August. He said he was approached by three men, one
of them armed. Two of them restrained him while the third threw the
explosive device into the building. The three then ran off. The blast
destroyed the radio station’s roof and its equipment.
The Voice of The People employs local journalists who prepare radio
programmes in local languages that are sent by computer to the Netherlands.
From there they are broadcast back to Zimbabwe in order not to be subject to
Zimbabwe’s repressive news media laws. The government had often accused the
station of by-passing the law and of spreading propaganda hostile to the
government and likely to foment political divisions. On 4 July, police had
searched the station, seizing files and cassettes.
The premises housing the printing press of the Daily News newspaper in
Southerton, a suburb of Harare, was bombed on the night of 27-28 January
2001. No one was injured but the printing press was badly damaged, making it
very difficult to bring out the daily. No one every claimed responsibility
for the bombing and the investigation produced no results.