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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Information Perm Sec addresses Workplace Sexual Harassment Sensitisation and Awareness Programme at ZBC

Information Perm Sec addresses Workplace Sexual Harassment Sensitisation and Awareness Programme at ZBC

The full speech by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana during a Workplace Sexual Harassment Sensitisation and Awareness Programme at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation this Thursday.

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. I cannot say the usual it gives me great pleasure to be here because the issue we have all gathered for today, gives me no pleasure at all.

Let me say, as a Ministry, we felt it was important to be part of this Workplace Sexual Harassment Sensitization and Awareness Programme here today. We hope our presence gives the guidance and impetus needed to deal with this scourge once and for all. Not only here at ZBC, but media houses throughout the country.

Zimbabwes media sector plays a key role in the dissemination of information. One of its goals is to inculcate positive values, attitudes, and behavior change of the public towards socio-economic and cultural environments with a view to promoting sustainable development (SD) at local and national levels.

It is highly worrying that the media sector is itself embroiled in the disregard of some of the very values it is supposed to educate others on. The very tenets of Ubuntu dictate that each human being is to respected and treated fairly in any situation. This includes the newsrooms. Every person in a newsroom deserves to be treated with hunhu/Ubuntu.

At policy level, its even explicit. Government has zero tolerance towards sexual harassment of females or males at workplaces and has a Public Service Sexual Harassment Policy which is ruthlessly enforced. I am aware that here at ZBC you have your own policy in place. I urge you to likewise ruthlessly but fairly apply it when cases of alleged sexual harassment are reported.

Media practitioners in all their diversity are an important cog in nation building. It is, therefore, important that their ability to carry out this task is not tampered with.

I will leave it to the presenters who will come after me to explain in detail and with accuracy what exactly constitutes sexual harassment. As they do so, I would like us all to remember that sexual harassment can be perpetrated on both male and females.

No one should be ashamed or be afraid to report cases of harassment. It is not a shameful thing, it is not the victims fault and certainly it is not something that one should be dismissed from work for refusing or reporting.

I assure you that as a Ministry, our doors are open for those who may feel their voices are not heard when they report incidents of sexual harassment.
Government cannot address this challenge alone which requires concerted efforts by all stakeholders joining hands. We applaud the interventions that the Zimbabwe Gender Commission has made to engage with the industry at large in addressing sexual harassment concerns. Together, we can all stamp out this shameful menace once and all from our newsrooms.

Building on this sensitisation and awareness programme, I urge not just the ZBC, but all media houses in Zimbabwe, to ensure that a safe working environment obtains where all employees can freely carry out their duties.

The Second Republic, under His Excellency President Emmerson Mnangagwa, has made significant strides in ensuring a safe, free and competitive operating environment for all media and ensuring that indeed, information is treated as a public good.

It is therefore now up to you, colleagues here present and elsewhere, to make sure this environment cascades down into the newsrooms.

Government, and our Ministry in particular, is at hand to give assistance and support where needed. It is my fervent hope that lessons and wisdom to be gleaned from todays programme, will be cherished and actioned and sexual harassment in the workplace will soon be a thing of the past.


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