#Zimbabwe Editor Suspended over ‘dying economy’ story

Harare – An editor at Zimbabwe’s state-run Herald newspaper has been suspended for publishing a story with a headline that said the country’s economy was “dying”, the paper said on Thursday.

Senior assistant editor George Chisoko was suspended for two weeks on full pay.

The offending headline read: “Feb inflation points to dying economy.”

The story was about Zimbabwe’s latest inflation figures, which declined to 1.40% in February from 1.28% in January.

The Editor of the newspaper, Caesar Zvai confirmed the suspension.

The suspension letter read: “You were asked to clear the pages and should have immediately seen that such a headline required far more careful checking than you clearly gave.”

Better judgement

The letter continued to say: “A growing economy cannot be described as ‘dying’ even if the growth rate is low.

“A journalist in your position, your grade, and with your experience has to exercise better judgement.”

The Herald is considered to be the voice of President Robert Mugabe‘s government and stories in it closely toe the ruling party line.

The private press regularly reports and comments on the Zimbabwe economy’s worrying downturn.

Mugabe’s government says any problems are due to drought and Western sanctions.

The government refutes opposition claims that a controversial indigenisation programme is driving away foreign investors.

Economic growth

While he is on suspension, Chisoko has been banned from entering the paper’s offices in central Harare.

Zvayi was himself suspended from duty in 2013 over a story he published that was critical of former central bank chief Gideon Gono.

Online media analyst @ZimMedia Review tweeted: “Herald editor @caesarzvayi on suspending an editor for ‘dying economy’ headline. Laughable.”

Twitter user @Mukoma9 wrote: “George Chisoko is a victim of truth telling. The Herald is there to cover the truth from the citizenry. I’m glad he is on full pay though.”

The International Monetary Fund has projected economic growth for Zimbabwe to weaken further in 2015. It was 3.1% in 2014.

– SAPA

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