I Won’t Be Reporting On Al Jazeera Documentary For My Own Safety - Chin'ono
Hopewell Chin’ono, an award-winning journalist, has decided to stop reporting on a documentary called Gold Mafia by Al Jazeera for his own safety.
The documentary exposes gold smuggling operations in Zimbabwe.
In a Twitter post seen by Pindula News, Chin’ono said President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, George Charamba, stated that the safety of those who keep reporting on the Al Jazeera documentary was at stake. He said:
Ladies and Gentlemen, After these continued threats from President Mnangagwa’s spokesman against journalists reporting on the Al Jazeera investigation findings, I won’t be reporting on this story for my own safety. George Charamba has made clear the consequences if we continue.
In an article published by Pindula News earlier, Charamba said the documentary is defamatory, therefore, journalists must desist from quoting it. He said:
FRIENDLY ADVICE TO ALL RECKLESS JOURNALISTS: Al-Jazeera is not a court of law before whose claims impart privileges to defamatory utterances. It is merely some weaponised channel. If you are reckless enough to repeat what its phoney documentary defamatorily says, hoping to plead:
“I heard/saw it on Al Jazeera”, you will be sorry for yourself. Do not for once think there is no grit to act against reckless, defamatory and politically motivated journalism. Faceless Twitter names egging you on will not be a factor when brickbats come. Be warned!
Al Jazeera released the first episode of the documentary titled Gold Mafia on Thursday last week.
The documentary implicates a number of prominent individuals in the gold smuggling scandal. These include Henrietta Rushwaya, Uebert Angel , Simon Rudland, Lamkesh Pattni.
It also implicates institutions such as Fidelity Printers and Refineries and the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA).
The documentary notes that there is a network of individuals who are exporting gold from Zimbabwe in exchange for dirty money from abroad. The money is then cleaned in Zimbabwe. This is said to be a move to bust sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Smuggling in Zimbabwe:
Smuggling is a big problem in Zimbabwe, and it is hurting the country’s economy.
The country is losing billions of dollars because of the illegal trade of goods like gold, tobacco, fuel, and diamonds.
The government estimates that $1.5 billion is lost each year due to gold smuggling and $300 million due to tobacco smuggling. Fuel shortages have also contributed to smuggling, which results in the loss of revenue for the government.
Smuggling creates an uneven playing field for legitimate businesses and can increase crime and corruption.