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Zanu PF political commissar attacks VOA’s Studio 7

25 Jun, 2021

What happened

Zanu PF acting political commissar Patrick Chinamasa on 24 June 2021 reportedly attacked the Voice of America’s (VOA) Studio 7 for its “hostile” broadcasts.

According to media reports, Chinamasa said VOA’s Studio 7 was viewed by Zanu PF in the same vein with the “illegal sanctions” imposed on Zimbabwe.

Speaking at a press conference in Harare, he said Zanu PF would resist the broadcaster’s regime change machinations.

MISA's position

The attack against VOA’s Studio 7 is of great concern as it comes barely after Parliament moved a motion for the enactment of legislation that enhances media freedom and encourages the media to conduct their activities without fear or favour.

The motion came on the backdrop of this year’s World Press Freedom Day commemorations under the theme: Information as a public good.

Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Honourable Sipho Mokone, who moved the motion on information as a public good, said it is important for government to protect freedom of speech and freedom of the media.

Honourable Mokone, whose motion was backed by other parliamentarians, said in that regard, the Constitution was the guiding legislation on the right to access to information and freedom of information.

Threats have the potential of instilling fear and media self-censorship, which undermines the media’s watchdog role over the Executive, media freedom, and, ultimately citizens’ right to access to information as provided for by the Constitution.

We equally urge the political parties to exercise caution and restraint when handling the media. Threats of this nature have the potential of exposing the journalist to harm as supporters of the party might take clue from their political party leadership and take the law into their own hands.

MISA Zimbabwe urges any aggrieved persons to lodge complaints they may have against the media with the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe for professional adjudication and resolution of their issues as well as instilling professionalism and ethical conduct on the part of the media.

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About MISA

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) was founded in 1992. 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.

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