The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has expressed concern at the absence of community- based newspapers publishing in vernacular to empower rural people.
Speaking at a three-day media workshop on gender, HIV and Aids in Kadoma this week, ZMC chairman, Godfrey Majonga said the commission was exploring ways to help the situation.
He said they would provide incentives for investors to lure them into setting up community newspapers in order to bridge the wide information gap. He said the commission was yet to receive applications for community-based newspapers.
“These are changing times for the media in Zimbabwe,” said Majonga. “The more outlets we have, the more space there would be for more issues which affect our day-to-day lives.”
He said lack of community newspapers in rural areas had widened the information gap and disempowered rural communities. Majonga said due to lack of investment in new infrastructure in the broadcasting sector it was difficult to licence new players.
“The rural communities need to be empowered with information as their urban counterparts,” said Majonga.
“It is the commission’s desire to see more community-based publications which can publish in vernacular languages easily understood by local people.” He said currently, the media was concentrated in urban areas while rural and remote areas were not covered. Majonga said there was need to continually train journalists in order for them to adapt to new challenges.
“There is need to constantly take stock of new dynamics shaping the issue areas we always write on,” he said.Majonga said there was need not only to place gender issues in the media but also to obtain knowledge about media dynamics and how they affect journalists’ work.