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Zimbabwe threatens to shut down newspapers over WikiLeaks

Papers like the Daily News that ran excerpts of US diplomatic cables leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks could be shut down, Zimbabwe's information minister Webster Shamu said Tuesday.

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The Zimbabwe government is threatening to shut down “private and foreign” news media organizations that it says are “abusing their journalistic privileges by denouncing the country and its leadership.”

The threat comes just days after the release of new US diplomatic cables by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks revealed widening rifts within the country’s dominant party, ZANU-PF.

The warning was delivered by Media, Information, and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu, who alleged in the state-controlled media Tuesday that private and foreign press were denigrating the country's leadership, including President Robert Mugabe and his family.

"We are not against criticism,” Mr. Shamu said, but “they are forcing us to take measures and they must stand warned."

"Of late, these media houses and pirate radio stations have intensified their vitriolic attacks and the use of hate language on the person of His Excellency, the President and the party in a well calculated move aimed at influencing the results of the forthcoming elections,” Shamu said. “In other words, the execution of the regime change agenda has been intensified.”

Leaked cables irk officials

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