By Fungai Jachi
The media has been described as a critical tool in the quest to expose all forms of intolerance and phobia against marginalised communities.
Speaking at the inaugural annual conference on media against phobias in Harare this Wednesday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Mutsvangwa noted the need for the media to deepen it’s recognition of all those who have been marginalised socially and politically to facilitate their inclusion in relevant public and private spaces.
Senator Mutsvangwa challenged media practitioners to address issues of intolerance and foster knowledge that helps eradicate all forms of phobia.
“Coming on to the politics of distribution, I also recognise that we have a long way before we come up with technical social and policy related strategies in economic production and distribution. Many times societies relate to marginalised social groups as consumers and hardly as producers and distributors of economic and material goods. I think discourses on combating phobias and intolerance may never be complete until we address inequalities that marginalise certain identities in the production and distribution of economic and material goods.
“At our political level, that’s why our Head of State, Dr Emmerson Mnangagwa emphasises that we should not leave anyone and any place behind. This speaks to inclusion, equity and fairness. I am therefore hoping that some of the paper presentations and panel discussions will explore how the media should address the politics of recognition and distribution as a strategy in combatting phobias,” noted Senator Mutsvangwa.
Albino Charity Organisation of Zimbabwe Executive Director, Ms Loveness Mainato says the media has a long way to go in addressing phobias associated with people with disabilities and women.
“The media is trying to expose the challenges that persons with disabilities go through, but a lot more can be done because most people still do not understand that persons with disabilities also have a part to play in the development of this country. So the media should do more to expose such issues.”
Inclusivity is one of the core values of the Second Republic with a number of initiatives having been put in place to assist women and persons with disabilities.
One of the major milestones is the enactment of the Disability Policy of June 2021, which seeks to address the marginalisation and discrimination of Persons with Disabilities, empower them to improve their livelihoods and contribute towards the national development agenda.
The Women’s Microfinance Bank and other various empowerment projects have also changed women’s lives for the better across the country.