Gift Phiri, formerly of The Zimbabwe Independent
Phiri, a former reporter for the private weekly The Zimbabwe Independent, was attacked by unidentified assailants who accused him of working for foreign media, including the U.S. government-funded Voice of America. Local sources told CPJ that Phiri believed that his assailants were acting on orders from Zimbabwe’s feared Central Intelligence Organization.
The attack followed a statement by State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa in the government-owned Manica Post in which he threatened journalists “driven by the love for United States dollars and British pounds, which they are paid by foreign media houses to peddle lies.”
“It is sad to note that there is a crop of journalists who are selling the country to the enemy by writing falsehoods, with the intention of agitating violence in the country,” Mutasa told the Manica Post. “They should be warned that the net will soon close in on all those involved in these illegal activities.”