US embassy says attack on Studio 7 ends up as advertorial


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The United States embassy in Harare said a Sunday Mail attack on the Voice of America’s Studio 7 which is targeted at Zimbabwe ended up as an advertorial because it announced the existence of the station, its frequency and time of broadcast.

The VOA is barred by law from broadcasting to the United States because it broadcasts propaganda.

Section 501(a) of the Smith-Mundt Act also known as the Information and Education Exchange Act of 1948 provides that: “information produced by VOA for audiences outside the United States shall not be disseminated within the United States … but, on request, shall be available in the English language at VOA, at all reasonable times following its release as information abroad, for examination only by representatives of United States press associations, newspapers, magazines, radio systems, and stations, and by research students and scholars, and, on request, shall be made available for examination only to Members of Congress.”

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 03HARARE2289, MEDIA REPORT VOA’S STUDIO 7 UNDER HEAVY FIRE

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

03HARARE2289

2003-11-25 07:19

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HARARE 002289

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/PDPA FOR DALTON, MITCHELL AND SIMS

AF FOR RAYNOR

NSC FOR TEITLEBAUM

LONDON FOR GURNEY

PARIS FOR NEARY

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

VOA/IBB FOR OGULNIK, STEWART AND MENGESHA

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL KPAO KMDR ZI

SUBJECT: MEDIA REPORT VOA’S STUDIO 7 UNDER HEAVY FIRE

AGAIN; HARARE

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

 

REF: (A) HARARE 001536     (B) HARARE 002017     (C)

HARARE 002170

 

1.   Voice of America’s (VOA) Studio 7 program on Zimbabwe

made the hub of the lead story carried in the November 23

edition of the government-controlled weekly “The Sunday

Mail” (circulation 55 – 70,000), in which the United States

Government is slammed for allegedly setting up a

transmitter in Botswana in order to broadcast “anti-

Zimbabwe propaganda” and “demonizing the country” ahead of

the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM) in

Abuja, Nigeria next month. The propaganda article by the

paper’s political editor, Munyaradzi Huni, comes hard on

the heels of a successful visit to Zimbabwe by Botswana’s

Foreign Minister Retired Lt. Gen. Marahfe Mompati. The

article inadvertently ended up being a Studio 7 advertorial

piece, announcing the existence of the station, the

frequency, and time of broadcast. Excerpts of the article,

printed under headline “U. S. sets up anti-Zim radio in

Botswana,” follow:

 

2.   “The U. S. has set up a medium wave radio transmitter

that is allegedly broadcasting anti-Zimbabwe propaganda

from a site called Selebe Pikwe in Botswana, a move that

could raise tension between the two neighboring countries,

investigations have revealed. The hostile broadcasts being

beamed from the VOA transmitter are aimed at demonizing the

country ahead of the CHOGM set for Abuja, Nigeria, early

next month. . .Sources close to the operations of

Transmedia, a company tasked with managing the country’s

mass-market public broadcasting infrastructure, said the

hostile broadcasts were (being) received in Matabeleland

North and Midlands provinces. `Reception is clearer

especially at night as the coverage area increases. We

believe this is being broadcast from the VOA transmitter in

Botswana on frequency 909 Khz at a site called Selebe

Pikwe. We have come up with this conclusion because

transmission from medium wave is mostly local and hence can

only be done from the vicinity of the country,” said the

source. It is understood that VOA, which usually transmits

on short wave, is giving Studio 7 a slot for broadcasting

during the evening around 7 PM (local time) in the evening.

 

3.   “. . .Recently the Minister of State for Information

and Publicity, Professor Jonathan Moyo, said there

was a transmitter transmitting hostile propaganda

from a neighboring country but he did not name the

country. These new revelations are set to raise

tension between Zimbabwe and Botswana as in the past

there have been allegations that Botswana has a U.

S. military airbase near the Kalahari Desert.

Botswana has denied the allegations. . .The

situation is made worse considering the revelations

earlier this year by the outgoing U. S. Assistant

Secretary of State for African Affairs Mr. Walter

Kansteiner who said his government was working with

Botswana, South Africa and Mozambique to topple

President Mugabe and his government from power. .

.All three countries denied the allegations but some

diplomats in Harare and some ZANU PF top officials

urged the government to `dig deep’ into the matter

as `there is no smoke without fire.’ Also earlier

this year, Mr. Kansteiner was in Botswana where he

had a lengthy stay after holding meetings with that

country’s leader Festus Mogae. . .His visit to

Botswana was immediately followed by the visit by U.

S. President George W. Bush who also met that

country’s leadership. Diplomatic sources who spoke

on conditions of anonymity said the visits by the U.

S. officials could have `given birth and saw the

growth of Studio 7.’

 

4.   “It is understood that Studio 7 has secretly recruited

journalists from both the public and private media who are

filing stories using pseudo names. Government sources say

the security net is fast closing in on them and those found

`moonlighting’ for the station would be `dealt with

severely.'”

 

5.   (SBU) COMMENT: From the moment VOA’s Studio 7 hit

the airwaves, the government of Zimbabwe, through

the office of Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,

has relentlessly attacked the United States

Government for “toughening its hostility towards

Zimbabwe” by “churning out propaganda about regime

change” through Studio 7. Moyo amplified this

scathing attack on the U. S. on July 29 when he met

an Iranian delegation, in the country to revamp the

television and frequency modulation (FM) network for

the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation

(ZBC). “The U. S. Government was sowing seeds of

division among people in rural areas using a radio

station known as Studio 7. . .Where we celebrate our

own culture, the idea of a superpower imposing its

will on the rest of the world is totally

unacceptable,” Moyo is quoted saying. Last October,

Moyo was also heavily quoted in the independent

newspapers as saying “Studio 7 will die. It faces

death. They think we are sleeping, we want to see

where they are going with Studio 7.” This threat

came immediately after the closure of Zimbabwe’s

first independent daily “The Daily News” on

September 12.

 

With such a cheerless backdrop, the lead article in

the November 23 edition of the government-controlled

weekly “The Sunday Mail” is no surprise. It is

almost certainly a planted story generated by

Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, according to our

contact at the newspaper. We believe that this is

the first shot in a propaganda salvo aimed as

pressuring the Government of Botswana over what Moyo

views as anti-regime propaganda emanating from

across the border. While Moyo is something of a one-

man show in attacking any source of information on

Zimbabwe that he can/does not control, it is

probably that higher-ups in the GOZ have approved

Moyo’s effort to intimidate the Government of

Botswana. (The article appears in the same edition

as an article by the same Mr. Huni castigating

Nigerian President Obasanjo for being influenced by

the “white Commonwealth members to not invite

President Mugabe to the Commonwealth CHOGM session

in Abuja. Le it not be said that Moyo confines his

bluster and bullying tactics to Zimbabweans, the

U.S. and the U.K.)

 

SULLIVAN

(32 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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