Government will continuously open up media space so that even the remote villages and the most marginalized communities find their voices so as to aid their development within the context of the country’s growth trajectory under the Second Republic, a Government official has said.
Addressing members during World Press Freedom Day Commemorations in the capital yesterday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa urged various actors to continually engage Government and come up with solutions and technologies that will enhance media and communications in the country.
Minister Mutsvangwa urged the media to be professional and desist from sowing hate and toxicity when conducting their day to day business.
“We have seen that some media activities could be harmful, driven by toxicity, hate, malice and divisiveness. This is not the essence of freedom of the media and the opening up of the sector to plurality.
“Media practices should be guided by professional ethics and core tenets such as truthfulness, accuracy and fairness. We demand a media that is cognizant of the national interest, values and ethos so that we can build a sustainable future for our nation,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said media has a special duty to protect the national interest as they exercise their rights and freedoms and that it has a special duty to be one of the leaders of the process.
Minister Mutsvangwa affirmed Zimbabwe’s commitment to the principles enshrined in the Windhoek Declaration, whose 30th anniversary signifies the journey that the global family of nations has travelled in pursuit of press freedom.
“The subsequent proclamation of World Press Freedom Day by the United Nations, on the strength of a recommendation by its agency, the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) demonstrates how a free press is the cornerstone of democratic societies and a key pillar for development,” said the Minister.
Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwe, under the Second Republic led by President Emmerson Mnangagwa, is on an unprecedented path of not just opening up the media sector but also making the work of media workers freer and without hindrance.
Over the past three years Zimbabwe recorded a number of milestones to benefit the media sector among them repealing of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act in 2020, which had been widely criticized for stifling media spaces in the country. Government also enacted the Freedom of Information Act in July 2020, setting a whole new paradigm for media operations in the country.
The coming together of African journalists who in 1991 in the Namibian capital, laid the foundation for the recognition of the need for press freedom, independence and pluralism in Africa and in other parts of the world.