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Zimbabwe warms to news networks

CNN and BBC get easier access, but hurdles remain

Four months after an agreement with Zimbabwean officials to repair what one minister dubbed a “mutually ruinous relationship,” the BBC and CNN are reporting openly from the troubled African nation for the first time in nearly a decade.

Kim Norgaard, CNN’s Johannesburg bureau chief, calls it a “sea change” in how the net operates in the country.

Western media have been banned from Zimbabwe since 2002. Both the BBC and CNN reported from undercover there for the past seven years. Since returning to Zimbabwe this summer, both networks report a constructive dialogue with the government, which has shown a willingness to re-engage with Western media.

In October, President Robert Mugabe granted a rare interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour while visiting New York.

A CNN crew visiting a white farmer whose land had been seized by Mugabe loyalists was given a hostile reception by armed thugs.

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