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Namate rewarded for editorial courage

Munyaradzi Wasosa

ZIMBABWE Independent cartoonist, Tony Namate, was this week awarded the 2003 Cartoonists Rights International (CRN) Courage in Editorial Cartooning in the USA.

T face=”Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif”>CRN said Namate deserved the global award “for refusing to be intimidated by government threats”. The award was presented to Namate by CRN president, Kevin Kallaugher.

Namate is the cartoonist for the Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard as well as for the former Daily News. He refused to be accredited as a journalist with the government-appointed Media and Information Commission (MIC) saying this was incompatible with international standards on freedom of expression.

It is a crime in Zimbabwe to practise as a journalist without accreditation under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

“After publicly refusing to comply with what he felt was an illegal new law requiring all journalists to register with government,” CRN said, “Namate was subjected to televised threats by various ministry officials, calling him disloyal and working to undermine the government.

“During 2003 and well into 2004, Mr Namate has been under constant threat of physical harm and arrest by the repressive regime of Robert Mugabe,” CRN said.

The award is given each year to an editorial or social cartoonist who demonstrates exceptional courage in the face of overwhelming power that seeks to silence him.

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