Welshman Ncube blasts online publications

Redcliff – The Zimbabwe Government of National unity Chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) Welshman Ncube castigated journalists writing for online publications saying their stories had been characterised by hate speech, which did not help in national healing.

Prof Ncube, who is also the Minister of Industry and Commerce, said this at the weekend in Redcliff while addressing members of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists national council attending a three-day workshop.

The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee — established under the framework of the inclusive Government

JOMIC will look into the media environment to see how it can be reformed to allow more stakeholders to participate. He said a media sub-committee had been set up to look into the current media laws and assess if it was feasible for media organisations to be registered or re-registered.

Over the 10 year spell of the Zimbabwean crisis, the opposition has mainly depended on online publications as Robert Mugabe kept grip on the media.

Asked for comment, publishers of The Zimbabwe Mail, a Zimbabwean online news outlet, The Zimbabwe News & Media (Pvt) Ltd Executive Chairman Brighton Musonza concurred with Prof Welshaman Ncube and urged other online publications to get to grips with the new enviroment.

"At The Zimbabwe Mail we have accepted reality and we will gradually take a position prescribed by the new political enviroment, we have a duty to be part of the new Zimbabwe", he said.

"There is always the temptation of taking Western tabloid journalism to the Zimbabwean frontline, but our unsophisticated media legal framework won’t be suffice to protect the rights of private individuals, let alone to safeguard the much needed political stability of our country", said Mr Musonza, who is the co-founder of The Zimbabwe Times, another online publication run by former Daily News editor Goeffrey Nyarota.

Ncube said The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee is working on a solution acceptable to all political parties on the fate of suspects facing charges of banditry.

JOMIC chairperson for the month of February Professor Welshman Ncube said the issue of people arrested on banditry allegations had been one of the most difficult cases his committee had handled.

He said the matter was referred to JOMIC by the extraordinary Sadc summit held in Pretoria last month following complaints by MDC-T.

"We have an understanding on a solution acceptable to all parties, but I cannot prejudice it by discussing it with you because we have a polarised society.

"We have worked round the clock on the issue literally since January 30 and in a few days we must be saying we have a solution acceptable to everyone," said Prof Ncube.

He said MDC-T had contended that the arrest of its supporters was illegal and unwarranted.

But Zanu-PF, while admitting that there were some irregularities in the manner in which they were arrested, argues that the law should be allowed to take its course.

Prof Ncube said JOMIC had also received reports from various parts of the country that some party supporters were taking the law into their own hands by attacking rival party supporters in revenge for alleged acts of violence in the run-up to last year’s presidential election run-off.

"Regrettably these are self-help measures. Anyone who believes the law was violated against him should report it.

"An eye for an eye does not work, it will lead to more lawlessness," Prof Ncube said.

ADDITIONAL Reporting: The Herald