Zim Watch: Media and Money - Business as usual in Mugabeland?

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe announced the other day that more freedom will be given to the media ahead of the upcoming presidential election. Apparently this measure will revise Zimbabwe's strict media laws and provide for a new licensing authority for journalists — known as the Zimbabwe Media Commission — and the relaxation of some licensing rules.

However, the independent media groups, which are virtually outlawed currently, say this will be put to the test in the coming weeks. Foreign journalists are generally denied visas and state media accreditation to visit Zimbabwe. Many of my Zimbabwean and BBC colleagues are waiting to see if they will be allowed in.

I have to see this to believe this myself. This may just be another case of how the more things are suppose to change, the more they remain the same.

Even if media limits are relaxed, I bet the ease doesn't extend for media finding out the real reason behind the government now printing $10 million bank notes.

From the BBC
Zimbabwe's central bank is to introduce new higher-denomination banknotes in an effort to ease the critical shortage of cash in the country.
Zimbabwe has been in economic decline for the past eight years, with annual inflation widely thought to be in excess of 50,000%.

The highest value note that will go into circulation on Friday is worth 10m Zimbabwean dollars.

But that is worth less than US$3.90 (£2; 2.60 euros) on the black market.

The introduction of the new banknotes, or "bearer cheques" as they are officially called, is a further attempt to stabilise the Zimbabwean economy.


There have been long queues every day at banks as people have struggled to withdraw cash.

The government's only response is to print more money - and that is seen as the main reason for the hyperinflation.

There have been no official inflation figures published for the past three or four months.

Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono, has called on the business community not to increase prices every time new measures are taken to adjust the currency.

The new higher denomination bank notes are certain to cause more confusion and they may only bring short term relief.

In the meantime, many people have become dependent upon imported goods, there are still severe shortages of fuel and power supplies remain erratic.

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