Media must unpack national development strategy: Minister Mutsvangwa

The media plays a crucial role in ensuring the success of the national vision, Media, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

In her speech to mark World Radio Day in Zimbabwe, Minister Mutsvangwa said the country’s National Development Strategy One must be unpacked in a way that is palatable to the ordinary person.

“Media has an important role to inform the nation to ensure the success of our national vision. The National Development Strategy needs to be unpacked to the nation in way that is palatable to the men and women in the street.  We need a national buy-in by citizens if they are going to meaningfully contribute to national development.

“Beyond informing the nation on what each of us can contribute, media also plays a watchdog role holding government to account for its promises to the nation whilst at the same time scanning the environment to give alerts to threats that can derail our national effort. I thus throw the challenge to our media to play its role in gearing the nation towards our collective aspirations,” said the minister.

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Vision 2030 which was espoused by President Emmerson Mnangagwa aims at making Zimbabwe an upper middle-income society by 2030, with the Transitional Stabilization Programme (TSP, 2019-2020), the five-year National Development Strategy (NDS-1, 2021-2025) and the National Development Strategy (NDS-2, 2026-2030) as its roadmaps.

She said the media also plays vital roles of projecting a good national image to make Zimbabwe competitive, as well as educating and entertaining the nation.

“The media needs to be conscious that the quest for national development is part of the wider continental vision as encapsulated in the Agenda 2063 as well is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. It is thus the role of our media to reveal the linkages, the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to the nation from these noble goals.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said the Second Republic under the visionary leadership of President Mnangagwa is cognizant of the important role that media plays in making Zimbabwe a better country and has committed to creating an enabling environment for the media.

“This is coming by way of streamlining and improving corporate governance in the sector as well as implementing the Zimbabwe Digitalization project which seeks to modernize media platforms for the efficient and quality dissemination of information and programmes. In an environment of competing national priorities, the Zimdigital project is slowly but surely progressing well given the circumstances,” she said.

She mentioned the media reforms that have been undertaken by the Second Republic in order to align the sector with the law.

“Further to the progress the country is making in improving media platforms, the Second Republic is implementing media reforms to align media laws to the Constitution as well as transform the sector to match international best practices with regard to viability, diversity and plurality. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was repealed following wide-ranging consultations with stakeholders and citizens at large. The Freedom of Information bill is now an Act whilst the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Protection of Personal Information bills at advanced stages of enactment.

“The Broadcasting Services Act is also going to be amended to address the concerns of the sector meanwhile a media policy is being worked on.  The nation is beginning to enjoy the fruits of these efforts as we have seen more players being licenced in the print and broadcasting sectors albeit at a pace dictated by the progress that we are making in improving capacity of the platforms.”

The World Radio Day 2021 celebrations were held under the theme, ‘New World, New Radio’, as well as three global themes; evolution, innovation and connection. The theme speaks to the imperative that has been placed on radio given the critical role it plays in society in an environment in which communication is being revolutionized by developments in technology.

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