align=justifyWilf Mbanga, editor and publisher of The Zimbabwean, told TheMediaOnline that the Mugabe military junta is determined to cut Zimbabweans off, through extreme media censorship. Radio stations and independent newspapers have been closed down and telephone calls and e-mails are monitored.
align=justifyHe adds that Zimbabweans do not have the means to receive news about what is happening in their own country. “The Zimbabwean is one of four independent publications that Zimbabweans can access. It is by far the biggest (newspaper).”R
align=justifySome 260,000 copies of this title are distributed, from the paper’s headquarters in London, to Zimbabweans nationwide at a cost price of Z$2-billion.
align=justifyMbanga says that it is very difficult to get copies into the country. “They (the Mugabe military junta) are doing everything to disrupt circulation. On Thursday (June 19) 60,000 copies were impounded after they were flown in by a commercial carrier. Our trucking company has been threatened and duties have been raised.”R
align=justifyThe punitive duty levied on The Zimbabwean is 60 percent of the cover price. This is made up of 40 percent plus a surcharge of a further 20 percent levied on “luxury times such as foreign newspapers”.
align=justify”We need to encourage people to buy the newspaper to assist in informing Zimbabweans of what is happening in their country,” says Mbanga.
align=justifyHe adds that the newspaper is running at a loss. Every copy of the paper bought in South Africa pays for seven copies to cross the border – and for every full page ad booking made, some 10,714 copies can be distributed.
align=justifyAbout 20,500 copies of The Zimbabwean are distributed in South Africa weekly and can be found at participating Engens, CNAs and in the Johannesburg CBD, at a retail cost of R5.