Zimbabwe government pledges protection of journalists

The Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Christopher Mushohwe on 3 May 2016 pledged the protection and security of journalists during the course of their work as well as alignment of Zimbabwe’s media laws with the Constitution.

In a statement to mark the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, Mushowe said: “Rest assured we are together in defending and promoting the interests and welfare of our journalists regardless of whether one hails from public or private media. In Zimbabwe, we want all journalists to be protected at all costs.

“The ministry remains seized with the exercise to revisit media laws and plug the gaps and inadequacies that might have a bearing on the creation of a conducive environment for the development and growth of the information and media sector in Zimbabwe.”

MISA Zimbabwe’s position

In its 2016 World Press Freedom Day statement, MISA-Zimbabwe notes with great concern government’s lethargy in implementing media law reforms almost three years after enactment of Zimbabwe’s 2013 Constitution.

This is despite repeated commitments, notably by the Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services, to institute the requisite reforms in line with the new constitutional dispensation and as buttressed by the findings and recommendations of its Information and Media Panel of Enquiry (IMPI).

The ministry is on record saying it would set the ball rolling in that regard by convening an all stakeholders consultative meeting in January 2016 to ensure that key players in the information and media industry input into the policy and law reform process.

Five months into 2016, there is deafening silence as to when the proposed meeting will be held exposing government’s insincerity in implementing envisaged media reforms.

It is against that background that MISA-Zimbabwe coined its 2016 theme: Free and Secure Online Expression and Access to Information in Zimbabwe, as a reminder for government to fulfil its obligations in terms of the Constitution, international laws, treaties and conventions that guarantee fundamental human rights to which Zimbabwe is state party.

About MISA Zimbabwe

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe was founded in 1996. Its work focuses on promoting, and advocating for, the unhindered enjoyment of freedom of expression, access to information and a free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media.