Zimbabwe Media Commission Launches Ground-breaking Policy to Combat Sexual Harassment and Violence in the Media Industry

by zmc.admin

In a landmark move to address sexual harassment and violence within the media sector, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) officially launched the Media Industry Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy on 11 April 2024. Held in collaboration with Women In News, the launch event took place in Harare and marked a significant step towards fostering a safer and more inclusive work environment for media practitioners across the country.

The policy, developed through extensive stakeholder consultations including validation workshops in Bulawayo and Harare, serves as a framework for creating a workplace environment that is free from sexual harassment and violence. ZMC, along with all media stakeholders, is committed to upholding this zero-tolerance policy.

Key objectives of the policy include providing and maintaining a safer working environment where everyone, including freelancers, consultants, interns, and volunteers, is treated with dignity and respect, free from sexual harassment and violence.

The launch event was attended by prominent figures in the media sector, with the guest of honour being the Minister of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services, Honourable Dr. Jenfan Muswere. Minister Muswere officially launched the policy, hailing it as a re-affirmation of the commitment to create a media environment that is free from sexual harassment and sexual exploitation.

Addressing attendees, ZMC Chairperson Professor Ruby Magosvongwe emphasized that the policy is a response to the pressing issue that has plagued the media industry for far too long.

Ms. Jane Godia, Deputy Executive Director for Africa Region at WAN-IFRA/Women In News, shared alarming statistics on the underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions within media houses. According to a 2020 study, only 18% of editorial lead positions in Zimbabwe were held by women, making them particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment.

Solidarity messages were also shared by various stakeholders and media players, including the Zimbabwe Gender Commission, represented by Commissioner Sibongile Mauye, and Honourable Hamauswa, a member of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media, and Broadcasting Services. Additionally, messages of support were received from ZimPapers, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), and Gender and Media Connect.

Commissioner Sibongile Mauye expressed the Zimbabwe Gender Commission’s support for the policy, emphasizing its importance in addressing sexual harassment and violence. While Honourable Hamauswa underscored the need for media houses to align their internal policies with the Policy Framework developed by the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

The policy document is available for download on the Zimbabwe Media Commission’s website: http://mediacommission.co.zw/download/sexual-harassment-policy/

This launch represents a crucial step towards fostering a safer and more inclusive media environment in Zimbabwe, where all practitioners can work with dignity, respect, and without fear of harassment or violence.

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