Germany’s international broadcaster, Deutsche Welle’s Peter Limbourg has implored the Zimbabwean government to match the ‘new dispensation and the Zimbabwe is open for business’ mantra by implementing reforms that free media and tap into the huge potential television industry has in the country.
By Costa Nkomo
Speaking at a discussion forum organised by Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA Zimbabwe) in Harare last week, Limbourg emphasised the need for Zimbabwe to realise the potential investments that remain untapped in television industry in the country.
“It’s always good if you have a government that says it is ‘open for business’, but I think it will be great if the government also says we are open for free press and freedom of expression.”
“First of all you have to have the laws which give everybody the chance to create their own television stations and then you weigh and see if there will be no people who want to invest in the country, but if you have only one television station and you are not allowing anybody else to do investments then things will not change,” said Limbourg.
He further underpinned that economic development blooms on freed media which is a pointer to the rule of law- a basis for promoting and establishing an attractive and persuasive environment to would be foreign investors.
“I think free media is the most important ground for investments because if you have a free and democratic society then people will see that there is a rule of law. And I think the most, the biggest obstacle for investments in a lot of counties in Africa is that the rule of law is not guaranteed and I think this is the best if you can have the rule of law working in your country, then you will not only have investors from the media, you will have a lot of other investors,” he added.
Limbourg drew huge differences between the Zimbabwean and the Germany media landscapes where the latter is very liberated coming on the back of the long period of democracy and economic success.
The Germany media also operate within the private market lane, where private business personnel with their institutions operate on independent basis without the influence of government officials a leaf Limbourg urges the Zimbabwean government to follow.
The call to implement media reforms has recently intensified with the opposition political parties and civil society groups crying foul over the negative coverage they get from public media.