GEOFFREY NYAROTA WINS UNESCO PRIZE AS ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS LOOM
Nyarota, a winner of the World Association of Journalists' 2002 Golden Pen of Freedom Award and the Committee to Protect Journalists' 2001 Press Freedom Award, has endured numerous attacks from the government for his work, says UNESCO. He has been arrested and detained, repeatedly received death threats and has four libel suits pending against him. The offices of his newspaper have also been bombed twice. [See IFEX "Communiqués"
The awarding of the prize comes as Zimbabwe prepares for the upcoming 9-10 March elections amid much controversy over the government's handling of the press. The Media Institute for Southern Africa (MISA) says many foreign correspondents are being denied entry into the country, particularly British journalists, none of whom have received accreditation to cover the elections. The Associated Press has also been denied entry, while CNN has been told that it can only send in reporters after 25 February.
A week before, a journalist from Botswana, Moses Oguti, was arrested on 17 February for allegedly attempting to enter Zimbabwe illegally from Mozambique, adds MISA. He is being detained in the town of Mutare. MISA also says the South African observer mission has expressed concern over the government's apparent "blanket ban" on all South African newspapers. So far, none of them have received accreditation to report on the elections. [See IFEX "Communiqués"
For more information, see
www.misa.org. To find out more about the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize, see