The new dispensation’s Zimbabwe is open for business mantra blossoms in an environment where media conducts its business autonomously and therefore the government has no appetite to gag the fourth estate; Permanent Secretary in the Information, Media and Broadcasting Services ministry Nick Mangwana has said.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe Election Reporting Awards hosted by Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) among other partners yesterday, Mangwana encouraged journalists to delve into investigative stories aiming to unearth ills committed by public office bearers charging that there is no sacred cow.
“… an open and democratic society like ours here in Zimbabwe needs more journalists like you to demonstrate courage and resilience to unearth the truth and deliver well researched and accurate articles so that those holding public office, and in the private sector are held accountable,
“It is not the government’s desire to control the media. But the constitution places the responsibility to regulate (and not control) the media in the hands of ZMC. We however are not opposed to the media having a bodies that works together with the ZMC to regulate media conduct and ethical behavior of journalists,” he said.
Mangwana added that the media reforms the government is spearheading are now at advanced stage, a reflection of the present government capacity to listen to the issues media practitioners have raised.
“In early February 2019 cabinet approved the framework for the reform of AIPPA and proposed new legislation namely the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Bill, the Freedom to Access Information Bill and Data Protection Bill. The new laws are meant to democratize media space in Zimbabwe,” he said.
However Mangwana’s open media rhetoric under the new dispensation flies in the face of President Mnangagwa led government’s grip on state media which continues to churn out propaganda.