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Lazy journalism

New African usually manages to offer a different point of view of political and social events in Africa: which is why I am a faithful subscriber!

However, I was very disappointed by some of the reporting on Zimbabwe in the March issue. It surprises me that New African hasn't been able to step back from the propaganda created by both the MDC and Zanu-PF and offer a calm and objective commentary on events in Zimbabwe.

Every one of the articles seemed to miss a basic point: the current turmoil in Zimbabwe isn't due to the British government failing to carry out 23-year-old obligations; it isn't because of Zimbabwean action in Congo. It isn't even really about land reform, colonialism or media freedom.

The bottom line is that a greedy old politician wishes to continue ruling Zimbabwe. For the first time in 22 years, Robert Mugabe faces a democratic threat from a credible opposition, and he clearly doesn't mind resorting to all available dirty tricks in order to hang on to power.

What causes me genuine astonishment is that New African has chosen to present such a one-sided and uncritical view of the current situation in Zimbabwe: not one single word ascribed to any MDC leader or representative; but no fewer than five pages of a speech by the Zanu-PF foreign minister, Stanley Mudenge. I calculate that to be about [pounds sterling]13,000-worth of free, full-colour advertising for Zanu-PF, all presented without any analysis or criticism by New African. That isn't brave and independent journalism; it's lazy, cut-and-paste reporting.

David Saffery

London, UK

Editor's note: While you are entitled to believe in your "bottom line" on Zimbabwe (we can equally give you chapter and verse on what we think is the bottom line, for example, the recent Commonwealth statement in Australia said: "Heads of government recognised that as stated in the Abuja Agreement, land is at the core of the crisis in Zimbabwe and cannot be separated from other issues of concern to the Commonwealth"), you don't help your argument very much by accusing us of "lazy, cut-and-paste reporting".

Of all the sins we can be accused of, "lazy, cut-and-paste reporting" is definitely not one of them.

In the March issue, we had two pages analysing the Zimbabwe elections and the future of the country. We also had one page, by Francois Misser reporting from Brussels, analysing Stanley Mudenge's speech.

We printed a huge chunk of Mudenge's speech for three reasons: (a) for the record and for the sake of posterity; (b) it was the most historic, brave and profound speech ever given by an...

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