The local media has been urged to be in the forefront in fighting all forms of phobias and promoting unity across the entire African continent.
Addressing the Inaugural Annual Conference on Media against Phobias at the University of Zimbabwe yesterday, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Senator Monica Mutsvangwa, said the media plays a pivotal role in fostering unity and exposing the dangers of xenophobia.
“The media should bring back Ubuntu. The media should not be used to propagate hate speech, but it should thrive to foster unity and tolerance among citizens,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
Minister Mutsvangwa added that the only way to fight various forms of phobias is through African unity. She said that Africa should unite and learn to live in peace and harmony with each other.
“The way to fight these phobias is African unity. Yes, the media should be there to expose the negative side of phobias. If phobias are not curtailed, they will generate into violence and we don’t want that,” added the Minister.
The Minister further castigated the brutal murder of a Zimbabwean Elvis Nyathi who was recently murdered in South Africa. She said that the tenets of Ubuntu must abide by each and every African so as not to label one another a foreigner.
The Minister urged the media to learn lessons from history where in Rwanda; the media was once used to propagate ethnic tension, intolerance and genocide against a certain tribe. She said the media should thrive to be sites of socialisation and formulation of opinions which are critical in combating the spread of phobias.
Addressing the same gathering, Minister Mutsvangwa said her mandate as the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was to rebrand the New Dispensation and make it appealing to the citizens.
“My mandate is to unite the people of this country. My mandate is to rebrand the Second Republic. My mandate is to make sure that I remove that polarisation between private and public media. I have made it a policy within my ministry to receive each and every one who has an idea to improve the media situation in the country,” said the Minister.
The conference was also addressed by different speakers such as Professor Lovemore Madhuku, Dr Shingi Munyeza, musician Hope Masike and UZ Vice Chancellor Professor Paul Mapfumo who all emphasised that the media should play a pivotal role in combating phobias and promoting unity among people.