Editors condemn SADC accreditation fee

The Southern African Editor’s Forum (SAEF) has condemned the decision by SADC to levy journalists wishing to cover the 34th SADC summit in Zimbabwe.

And SAEF has called for the immediate scrapping of the accreditation fee.

SAEF chairman Kenny Makungu told the Daily Nation in a statement that accreditation should not be used by governments to raise money.

“Bonafide journalists should be unconditionally accredited to cover SADC events,” Mr Makungu said.

He said an email sent by SADC Public Relations head, Ms Leefa Martin to the media houses showed that journalists were expected to pay and that the accrediation fees had been doubled specifically for the coverage of the Summit which would see President Robert Mugabe take over the rotating chairmanship from the newly elected Malawian President Peter Mutharika.

“The Zimbabwean government is requesting SADC journalists wishing to cover the Summit to pay U$65.00, and others from the rest of Africa U$80. Journalists from Europe, Asia and other parts of the world will have to fork out U$150,” Mr Makungu said.

He said SAEF believed that the decision would hinder the free-flow of information to more than 200 million SADC citizens.

“We call for the intervention of the SADC leadership on the issue. SAEF intends to directly engage with the leadership of SADC to seek a lasting solution to this problem,” he said.