Zimbabwe proposed paper ban slammed
Harare - Press freedom organisations denounced on Friday plans by the Zimbabwe media controller to have some foreign newspapers banned, ahead of possible elections this year.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission said earlier it was asking police to outlaw newspapers published outside Zimbabwe and not registered with the commission.
Most of the newspapers likely to be affected are produced in South Africa, and include leading publications from Johannesburg as well as Zimbabwean expatriate journals.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa said the move was "a throwback to an era where the government sought to stifle freedom of expression through unnecessary policing of the media".
The Media Monitoring Programme Zimbabwe, an advocacy group which has been targeted in a recent government clampdown on journalists, also slammed the proposed regulation by the commission.
"Instead of living up to its mandate to promote a free and diverse media environment in Zimbabwe by campaigning for the repeal of this archaic legislation, it has chosen to implement its suffocating provisions," said Andrew Moyse, co-ordinator of the programme.
While President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is pushing for elections to be held this year, prominent civil society groups are demanding that electoral and constitutional reforms be completed first.