Zimbabwe has made great strides in implementing media reforms to enable journalists to freely discharge their duties without fear of repression or prosecution.
Speaking in Bulawayo yesterday during the World Press Freedom Day regional commemorations, the Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Kindness Paradza, said that Government had repealed and amended some draconian laws that were hindering the work of journalists.
“There is a lot to celebrate in Zimbabwe because we have done away with AIPPA (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) which was a bad law. In its place we have put the Freedom of Information Act, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act and also we have this Bill coming in, the Zimbabwe Media Practioners Bill.
“We are also going to amend the Broadcasting Services Act; not only that, we have given licences to six national private radio stations, 14 community radio stations and seven campus radio stations. We have a lot to celebrate,” said Deputy Minister Paradza.
The Deputy Minister added that the Zimbabwe Media Practioners Bill would make journalism profession robust and have a code of ethics.
“This Bill will strengthen the profession. Journalists are going to feel like they are journalists and they are the owners of the profession. We have had infiltrators in our midst, this is what we are going to wipe out,” said the Deputy Minister.
Deputy Minister Paradza further stressed that the environment in the country was conducive for journalists to discharge their duties without fear of repression or prosecution.
“We no longer have serious cases where journalists are harassed, beaten up or killed in this country. What we have is a robust exchange of ideas with journalists. Every now and then, we have always had the Government involved in whatever journalists do as a collective, because this is where the President’s philosophy of Nyika inovakwa nevene vayo comes in,” said Deputy Minister Paradza.
Journalists were urged to practice ‘solution journalism’ that will bring solutions to some problems that are bedevilling the country. The Deputy Minister further said journalists should be partners of development and should report on what brings development to the country.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day is being held in Bulawayo and is running under the theme, “Journalism under digital siege.”