Posted by: africanpressorganization | 25 March 2010

Zimbabwe / Prime Minister urges Media Commission to register new media houses





Zimbabwe / Prime Minister urges Media Commission to register new media houses



HARARE, Zimbabwe, March 25, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on 19 March 2010 urged the newly constituted statutory Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) to speedily register new media houses.


In a meeting with members of the Commission, Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the ZMC should rapidly implement its mandate in terms of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the enabling Constitutional Amendment No 19.  “ZMC is an independent commission, not under the control of any individual and has the responsibility to ensure that the media environment in Zimbabwe reflects multiple voices and views,” he said.


He said the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity role was to help the Commission get access to Treasury and Parliament. The meeting was attended by Media, Information and Publicity Minister, Webster Shamu, his deputy Jameson Timba. Also in attendance was Commission Chairperson Godfrey Majonga, his deputy Nqobile Nyathi and commissioners Mathew Takaona and Henry Muradzikwa.


Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s comments dovetail with President Robert Mugabe’s assertions during a meeting with the country’s editors early this month. President Mugabe said the Commission should get on with its work contrary to earlier assertions that the commissioners should be sworn in by the president before starting their work.


The ZMC is the successor statutory body to the now defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC).  Prime Minister Tsvangirai said the ZMC and MIC were separate entities adding that the commission must engage its own secretariat, He said in the event of the Commission using the MIC secretariat to expedite the processing of applications, it would do so on the basis of short term contracts.


Meanwhile, the repressive Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) is set for repeal before end of the year according to the Prime Minister’s Government Work Plan. Four newspapers, The Daily News, Daily News on Sunday, The Tribune and Weekly Times were closed under the draconian AIPPA. Several journalists were also harassed, threatened or arrested under AIPPA.


The repealing of AIPPA will come by way of the Freedom of Information Bill. The Government would also push the Media Practitioners Bill that would provide for regulation of journalists in line with SADC regional best practices.


MISA-Zimbabwe position


MISA-Zimbabwe insists that the media should regulate itself as stipulated under the Banjul Declaration on the Principles of Freedom of Expression. Media freedom and the citizens’ right to access to information should therefore be explicitly guaranteed in the constitution as the final and lasting solution to media self-regulation.


A constitutional guarantee on media freedom will go a long way in giving effect and greater impetus on the functions of the existing self-regulatory Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe established by journalists themselves in line with the Banjul Declaration.



Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)


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