Harare – Zimbabwe's government has vowed not to allow broadcasting of what it termed "subversive" information that could incite violence, as the country faces sporadic protests, a report said on Thursday.
According to the state-owned Herald newspaper, the presidential spokesperson - who also doubles as the permanent secretary for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services - George Charamba, said that broadcasters who failed to adhere to the law would be dealt with harshly.
Charamba's calls came on the back of a notification by the broadcasting authority of Zimbabwe reminding all broadcasters not to air programmes that would incite or glamorise violence.
"Following the riotous situation that was developing in the country, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe reminded all licensees of their obligation as broadcasters not to do anything that advances the cause of violent behaviour in the country," Charamba was quoted as saying.
The southern African country has in recent weeks been hit by a wave of protests, as Zimbabweans demanded that the government act on the ongoing economic hardships.
The country came to an abrupt standstill after Zimbabweans downed tools last week on Wednesday.
Many businesses, shops, and schools were closed, while public transport and some government departments and courts also ceased to function.
Following the successful stayaway, the organisers of the event called for a similar event on Wednesday and Thursday this week. But the response was somewhat muted, with reports indicating that the government had threatened to crush any protests in the country.
Also on the eve of the stayaway, one of the leaders, pastor Evan Mawarire, was arrested and charged with inciting public violence. He was later charged with attempting to overthrow a constitutionally elected government, just before he made his appearance in court on Wednesday.
The case was however thrown out of court, leading to his release.
Magistrate Vakayi Chikwekwe told a packed courtroom that the decision to bring new charges in court against Mawarire was unconstitutional.
- News 24