Freeman Razemba Senior Reporter

Government has challenged the media to work towards identifying and implementing appropriate public diplomacy information campaigns aimed at fostering the international community’s confidence in Government policies and programmes.

Information, Media and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary Mr Nick Mangwana yesterday said the country was indeed open for business and ready to re-engage with the rest of the world.

He was speaking at the ministry’s 2020 Strategic Planning Meeting workshop in Darwendale.

“As we enter the second year of the New Dispensation, the ministry cognisant of President E.D. Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement efforts aimed at ending the country’s economic and social isolation inherited from the old dispensation. Existing relations have to be strengthened while new frontiers or relations have to be pursued.

“I challenge you to work towards identifying and implementing appropriate public diplomacy information campaigns aimed at fostering trust and confidence in Government policies and programmes by the international community.

“Closely related to re-engagement is image perception, where it is our collective duty together with other sister ministries and relevant stakeholders to change the adverse perception and narrative of Zimbabwe into a positive one that attracts investment opportunities. Zimbabwe is indeed open for business and ready to re-engage with the rest of the world,” Mr Mangwana said.

He urged the media and stakeholders to ensure that their plans were in line with the integrated results-based management and strive to translate strategic goals into actionable and measurable development within set time-frames and budgets.

Mr Mangwana said the media reform process remains a crucial component of the ministry’s 2019-2021 policy priorities adopted at last year’s strategic workshop.

Significant progress had been made to date in improving the media environment.

He said two of the three stand alone Bills meant to repeal AIPPA namely; the Freedom of Information Bill and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill were gazetted in July and August 2019, and await the second reading stage in Parliament.

The Third Bill, the Protection of Personal Information Bill, was considered and approved by the Cabinet Committee on Legislation in October 2019 and awaits presentation and approval by the full Cabinet.

“Furthermore, you will be pleased to know that the Broadcasting Services Act Amendment Bill which was lagging behind in terms of its processing, was finally received from legal drafters in December 2019 and awaits consideration and approval by the Cabinet Committee of Legislation in February 2020.

“Also dovetailing into the Broadcasting Services Act Amendment Bill are proposed regulations on digital terrestrial television and radio broadcasting services as well as the proposed review of the broadcasting frequency allotment plan which I approved in December 2019 and are now before the Attorney General’s Office for scrutiny ahead of their gazetting,” Mr Mangwana said.

Mr Mangwana said the first ever draft national Media and Film Industry Policy developed in June last year by the ministry, which will augment the current media legislative reforms, was currently being refined and will be presented to the Cabinet Committee responsible for Social Development Cluster in March.

Mr Mangwana said the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe is expected to have registered more participants in the television sector in the first half of the year.

“To Transmedia, universal access to information is of utmost importance and let us accelerate the broadcasting of our transmission to reach all the unserviced ends of Zimbabwe so that we leave no one behind.

“To Zimpapers and ZBC, let’s continue to improve on professionalism, embracing accuracy and fairness. ZBC must brace itself for competition therefore should embrace more technology in order to compete,” he said.

The workshop was attended by senior Government officials, directors in the ministry, board of governors, CEOs from the ministry’s parastatals and media organisations and associations, among others.