Deputy Information Minister promises media reform

HARARE – NEWLY-APPOINTED Media, Information and Publicity deputy minister Jameson Timba (MDC-T) has promised to restore media freedom in Zimbabwe with the immediate return of closed publications and the freeing of airwaves.\r\n

"The Global Political Agreement (GPA) is unambiguous as to what should happen to banned newspapers and radio stations as well as those who intend to register new media houses," Timba said.

"Article 19 of the GPA directs that government facilitates the immediate registration and processing of applications of media houses under Aippa and the Broadcasting Services Act."

Newspapers closed include the Daily News, the Daily News on Sunday and the Tribune for allegedly contravening various provisions of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
He said the timeline given by the agreement with respect to the processing of applications in both the electronic and print media was immediate.

"I want to implement just that," Timba said.

"Our work has been cut out for us in terms of Article 19 of the GPA and the Prime Minster (Morgan Tsvangirai)’s vision statement as outlined at his inauguration."

He said his ministry’s mandate is to embark on a comprehensive media reform that focuses on creating an open media environment.

Timba said media laws should be revised to promote democracy through freedom of expression and the press.

"We must create an open and vibrant media industry that can accommodate the hundreds of journalists being churned out by our polytechnics and universities," he said.

Timba also promised to look into the issue of banned international news organisations such as the BBC and CNN.