Zimbabwe lifts ban on British cricket journalists

Published: Thursday, November 25, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Harare:The Zimbabwe government said it had lifted a ban on 13 British journalists who wanted to cover the forthcoming cricket tour by England of Zimbabwe.

"Delays in clearing 13 of the 55 had been encountered because the journalists had supplied insufficient information," ZBC radio quoted information minister Jonathan Moyo as saying on Thursday.

The radio said some of the journalists did not have their names on the websites of organisations they claimed to be working for.

It quoted Moyo as saying "further enquiries have since been carried out and all journalists have been cleared for accreditation" by the country's official media commission.

The delay in clearing the 13 journalists, which had threatened to scupper the forthcoming five-match series of One-day Internationals, was purely "an administrative matter that would have been speeded up had the affected journalists supplied the necessary information on time," the report said.

England are due to play their opening One-day International in Harare on Friday.

The Zimbabwe government accuses Britain's press of having a hostile news agenda towards its former colony, aimed at tarnishing the reputation of president Robert Mugabe's government.

In the past journalists from that country have been accused of trying to sneak into the country under the pretext of covering sport to cover other stories.

The government has banned the BBC from reporting permanently from Zimbabwe, while two other news correspondents for the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian have been evicted from the country in recent years.

Zimbabwe accuses Britain of working with the main opposition party to effect a regime change in the country.

The chairman of Zimbabwe Cricket, Peter Chingoka, said he was unable to comment at the moment about the government's position on accreditation of all journalists.

"I really must wait until I get the official letter" he said. "Until then I feel I shouldn't say anything in response. I expect to make a statement as soon as I have seen the letter."

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