Media violations and victories

Observations made by the Constitutional Court in July 2016 when it affirmed the legality of ZBC licence fees, are also telling in that regard. The court stressed the need for ZBC to be impartial and afford fair opportunity for presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions.

The ruling was made in a matter dating back to 2012 involving two applicants, Bernard Wekare and Musangano Lodge. Both applicants were facing criminal charges under the Broadcasting Services Act after failing to pay licence fees.

Several reports, including those by relevant Parliamentary Portfolio Committees; even the ministry’s very own sanctioned Information and Media Panel of Inquiry, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s 2013 report and elections observer missions, have repeatedly pointed out ZBC's deficiencies as a public broadcaster resulting from its political capture and abuse by the ruling party and government.

MISA Stance:

MISA Zimbabwe therefore urges the government to ensure citizen participation in the transparent and democratic appointment process of the ZBC board, while securing and guaranteeing its independence and accountability in carrying out its public service mandate.

This should be underpinned by implementing the long overdue media reforms in line with provisions of the Constitution, IMPI recommendations and the African Charter on Broadcasting.