By Tafara Chikumira
GOVERNMENT has reaffirmed its commitment towards creating a free operating environment for the media through harnessing a legislative framework which enables journalists to realise their full potential.
Stakeholders in the media fraternity are in Gweru for the formulation of the Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill which seeks to address various challenges in the media sector.
Government says it is free to engage relevant stakeholders with a view to coming up with a piece of legislation that is inclusive.
“In our deliberations, let us be guided by the fact that it is Zimbabweans who know what is best for Zimbabwe. Let us use this platform to advance the national interest because “Nyika inovakwa nevenevayo.” (A nation is built by its own people). Let me assure you that my Ministry, embraces universal access to information and will work round the clock to ensure that the project becomes a resounding success,” said Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services.
Media stakeholders have welcomed government’s open door policy, amid high expectations that the piece of legislation will improve the operating environment.
“We are saying government has indeed shown some great degree of inclusivity in trying to come up with policies that address the issues affecting the media space in the country. These engagements will help us to highlight some of the grey areas we feel need to be taken on board as we move forward,” said Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri, a Media Lecturer.
“There are a number of areas we feel should be attended to by this amendment bill. There are issues to do with co-regulation that have become topical. Who appoints the Zimbabwe Media Council is another area we feel as stakeholders we should also have a voice on,” said Mr Nyasha Rukuni from Media Institute of Southern Africa.
“It’s encouraging that government has seen it fit for us to be part of this process which shall determine the future of how the media will operate in this country. It’s time we work together and be remembered for coming up with a legacy that shall be cherished by future generations,” said Mr Nigel Nyamutumbu from the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe.
The Second Republic has opened up the media space through the licencing of six television stations, and 14 community radio stations.
By Tafara Chikumira