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Zimbabwe launches media complaints watchdog

The head of Zimbabwe's state media council says he wants a "cease-fire" on hostilities between the state-controlled media and privately owned news organizations.

Newly appointed chairman of Zimbabwe Media Council Henry Muradzikwa said at the launch of the media complaints watchdog Thursday that he doesn't want to "perpetuate divisions" between the two sectors but to find "common ground."

The state media largely acts as a mouthpiece for President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. Its criticism of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai amounts to hate speech, according to some media analysts.

The independent Media Monitoring Council of Zimbabwe Thursday criticized the establishment of the watchdog saying it represents further repression of press freedom by a state-controlled watchdog.

The complaints watchdog can either arrest or ban journalists for misconduct.