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|Friday, July 27, 2001, updated at 15:04(GMT+8)|
Zimbabwe Suspends BBC Correspondents' AccreditationThe Department of Information and Publicity of Zimbabwe Wednesday suspended the accreditation of BBC correspondents following a series of alleged distortions of events in the country, official newspaper The Herald reported on Thursday.
Minister of State for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo said the distortions and misrepresentations were unacceptable and would not be allowed to continue.
"The time has come for the BBC to follow and uphold in Zimbabwe the same professional and ethical standards it follows in Britain. That is the bottom line, nothing less or more," said Moyo in a letter to BBC News Bureau Chief Miton Nkosi in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Citing a report by BBC correspondent Rageh Omaar on President Robert Mugabe's speech at the opening of Zimbabwe's parliament on Tuesday morning, Moyo said: "To my utter shock and disappointment, Omaar alleged in his report that President Mugabe ...'vowed to continue with the forcible acquisition of white farmland ...' or something to that effect."
"These words were nowhere in the president's speech," the minister said.
"The president make it clear that land would be acquired as it has been, in terms of the laws of Zimbabwe," Moyo said, adding that Mugabe had in his address to the parliament which made specific reference to a recent Supreme Court decision.
Mugabe said the Supreme Court made a landmark judgement at the beginning of the month, which should speed up the process of land acquisition.
"Under the circumstances, and given many previous examples of deliberate unethical and unprofessional conduct by the BBC, which we have brought to your attention, Please be advised that the Department of Information and Publicity has suspended all accreditation of BBC correspondents in Zimbabwe pending agreement, if at all possible, on an ethical and professional code of conduct, " the minister said.
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