Monday, January 26, 2004

The SABC is in the middle of a row over impartiality, according to Business Day. The South African state broadcaster got in hot water when it broadcast live the launch of the ruling African National Congress' election manifesto but refused to offer the same access to the other major parties. The official opposition Democratic Alliance claimed the public broadcaster was suppressing debates on vital issues of public policy. "A debate over key policy areas and the future direction of our country is precisely what an election in a democracy is all about," said DA spokesman Douglas Gibson. "Thanks to SABC TV's refusal to air that debate, millions are being denied their right to a diversity of views over issues which are crucially important to them."

Angola's government has proposed a national plan to deal with rights violations. The authorities and United Nations representatives have started working on a national plan to establish mechanisms that deal with human rights violations. "Since the end of the war the [human rights] situation has improved. There is more space for free public debate on human rights issues and civil society groups feel confident to speak out against injustices. The government has also said it is committed to finding a solution to some of the current problems," UN Commission for Human Rights (UNCHR) national officer, Lerena Pinto, told IRIN.

Zimbabwe's recently liberated Daily News warns the regime of Robert Mugabe that the African Nations' Cup soccer tournament will 'not mask the truth' of the nation's desperate situation. The country's national team, the Warriors, is making its first appearance in the continent's premier soccer showcase. FOR the last week, in between incessant headline news about football, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has been telling us that the economy is well on the way to being fixed. Apparently, so the government says, inflation has gone down and according to ZBC's "man in the street" interviews, everyone is utterly delighted at falling prices. I think I must be living in another country because my grocery bill just goes up and up every week noted a Daily News columnist.

On a related note, Zimbabwe's information minister is blaming the national team's defeat in the Nations' Cup on the wrong national anthem. Apparently, the old anthem was played before the side's 2-1 loss to Egypt. This did not please Mugabe crony Jonathan Moyo, Zim's answer to Iraq's 'Chemical Ali.' "It was a cheap attempt by the organisers to demoralise our boys," Mr Moyo was quoted as saying. An official government statement is expected to attribute the incident to an ongoing plot by British prime minister Tony Blair who is also blamed by the regime for drought, gas (petrol) shortages and malaria.

African Nations' Cup scores since the opener
Group A: Tunisia 2-1 Rwanda. Guinea 2-1 DR Congo.
Group B: Mali 3-1 Kenya. Senegal 0-0 Burkina Faso.
Group C: Egypt 2-1 Zimbabwe. Cameroon 1-1 Algeria.

Tommorow's matches
Nigeria-Morocco (1300 GMT, 8 AM ET)
South Africa-Benin (1700 GMT, Noon ET)


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