16 Feb REMARKS BY THE ZIMBABWE MEDIA COMMISSION CHAIRMAN, MR. GODFREY MAJONGA: MEETING WITH MEDIA STAKEHOLDERS: ZMC BOARDROOM 16 FEBRUARY 2010
Fellow Commissioners here present
The ZMC Chief Executive Officer
Media Stakeholders here present
Ladies and Gentlemen
Let me take this opportunity to thank you all for finding time to attend this meeting with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) at such short notice. The ZMC Board, in its deliberations, came up with a deliberate work plan to meet all media stakeholders. Such engagements, we are sure, will lead to a better understanding of each other as we try to shape the media landscape in Zimbabwe. We do value your contributions to the development of the media in the country and thus why we reagrd you as partners in the development of the same.
As you are all aware, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) was established through Constitutional Amendment No. 19 of 2009. The Commission then came into being in February 2010 through the gazetting of its establishment by the President.
Since assuming office, the Commission has encountered a number of challenges including lack of budgetary support. This notwithstanding, the Commission managed to pursue its mandate as provided for by the Constitution and the enabling legislation, that is, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
One of the functions of the Commission is to provide access to information to the generality of our people. This can only be achieved through the licensing of more publishers so as to have alternative views. To date, the Commission has registered 15 media houses with the latest ones having been registered last week on the 10th of February 2010, that is, one daily newspaper, one magazine and a local office of a foreign news agency.
Our expectation as a Commission was that all media houses licensed since last year would quickly roll-out their business plans so as to afford our readers variety in terms of what is on offer. Only a handful of media houses from those licensed have managed to start publishing. This is a cause for concern for the Commission.
The Commission bemoans the concentration of publications in urban areas at the expense of community based newspapers. The resultant effect of such a development is an information or communication divide between the urban dwellers and those in communal areas. The Commission has noted this development with concern and is currently working on a policy framework to encourage rural publications, mostly in vernacular languages.
Ladies and gentlemen, since assuming office last year, the Commission did not have an opportunity to meet with the stakeholders in the media sector. We feel this meeting will enable both of us to not only know each other but to lay a solid foundation for a good working relationship for the benefit of all stakeholders. It is through such platforms that we can share problems and challenges affecting the sector. The Commission will soon be drawing up its strategic plan that will guide the development of the media for years to come. We do welcome your input into this plan. If the plan has to meet the wishes of all stakeholders then your input will be very valuable. We invite you to make contributions which we will seriously look into and be incorporated into this grand plan.
Many stakeholders have complained about the standards of reporting by our media. They point to a lack of professionalism and sometimes a complete disregard of those ethics that should guide us as journalists. The Commission feels that this meeting will afford us the opportunity to discuss such issues which include the setting up of a code of ethics or standards for the sector and the setting up of a Media Council as provided for by AIPPA.
Ladies and gentlemen let me once again thank you for coming and hope that this first meeting between the Commission and you members of the media fraternity will result in a clear understanding between ourselves and help build a media regime that is responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe.
I thank you.