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Zimbabwe courts Al-Jazeera

I read with great interest the article from Mail and Guardian Online stating that Al-Jazeera International a subsidiary of Arabic television channel al-Jazeera, has opened a bureau in Harare. For some time now foreign media has not been tolerated in Zimbabwe and this has seen the exit of such broadcasters like the BBC which I believe is actually banned.

This is why its interesting to see that the Al-Jazeera International network has been welcome. This to me raises the question of whether they have agreed to some special conditions or not but we will see with their coverage in the coming weeks and months. Any international news network would understandably be interested in setting up offices in Zimbabwe given that the country is at the moment is newsworthy with so many 'unique' things happening like the currency issue right now. But its also not the best of places to report from as we saw with Andrew Meldrum and others and it would be interesting to see how Al-Jazeera International will fare where many others have failed.

All in all its good news that the news network has been allowed in the first place to set up offices but what I hope for is that Al-Jazeera International will be able to report news as they happen and as accurately as they can. This means that when people's shelter is destroyed and no replacement is made available, they will show the pictures and footage of those events, when people starve when the government claims there is abundant food they will report on that, this is not asking for sensationalism or something like that but just pure facts and figures.

Al-Jazeera will gain a lot of respect from Zimbabweans and friends of Zimbabwe alike when they go about their job in a professional manner and report on things the way they are and as they happen. So its good they have opened their offices and now we wait to see the news they will be filing.

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