Journalists Petition Parliament on Media Reforms

Parliament was petitioned to undertake interim and long term measures for democratic media law reform that include persuading and insisting that the inclusive government ensures that there is a cessation of all harassment, intimidation, illegal detention, torture and criminalisation of the work of journalists, media practitioners and media houses.

"This is especially urgent with the ongoing cases against journalists Anderson Manyere and Jestina Mukoko who were initially abducted and have been kept in prison as well as continually harassed by members of the state security services.

"To establish the Zimbabwe Media Commission in terms of the amendments to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act of January 2008 with the full knowledge that statutory regulation of the media is not preferable and that in Zimbabwe’s current political climate, any such constitution of the statutory media council must be viewed as an interim measure that will eventually pave way for self regulation of the media," said the journalists.

They also called for the immediate establishment of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe in terms of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act of January 2008, to ensure the introduction of new players in Zimbabwe’s broadcasting industry while actively pursuing the need for the establishment of an Independent Communications Authority to replace the Broadcasting Services Act as well as the Postal and Telecommunications Act.

The journalists also called for a reform of the state broadcasting Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings into a truly independent public service broadcaster, that is free of undue political or editorial interference, the active monitoring of state controlled print media to allows for fairer coverage of all political views, ceases hate language and is affordable to ordinary members of the public in order to allow for greater access to information.

"To actively urge all media houses, practitioners to be gender sensitive in all of their operational and reporting practices to allow for gender parity in terms of media coverage of both men and women.

Suggested long term measures include constitutional guarantee of freedom of the media, access to Information, the repealing of all repressive laws, the enactment of new democratic legislation that is in tandem with the universal Declaration of Human Rights, the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights as well as the Windhoek Declaration and the African Charter on Broadcasting as well as voluntary regulation and Registration of the media.