Stakeholders slam continued abuse of journos

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As the nation celebrated World Press Freedom Day on Tuesday, media stakeholders expressed concern over the continued harassment of journalists and reluctance by government to implement media reforms.

Media experts and journalists said they were perturbed at the treatment of journalists and noted the recent break-in at the NewsDay newsroom by as yet unknown assailants, as a development of concern.

Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Murisi Zwizwai said he was “not amused with Zanu PF arrogance to own up and implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA)”.

Zwizwai said the move by the police to take fingerprints of NewsDay employees was tantamount to investigating victims.

“It is absurd and unprecedented when a complainant in a housebreaking case is requested to provide fingerprints including those of his wife, children, gardener, maid and ailing father-in-law.

“This is a classical case of persecution of the victim, in this case, NewsDay,” he said.

“It is a sad story that the world celebrates Press freedom when the inclusive government in Zimbabwe has failed to implement 24 out of 27 agreed items which could have laid a solid foundation for Press freedom.

“Further it is disheartening that it comes after the raid NewsDay offices by alleged members of the state security to suppress the alternative voice. We hope and pray that Sadc will put enough pressure on (President Robert) Mugabe and own up so that Press freedom is appreciated.”

Zwizwai said he was worried with the ever-increasing partisan jingles on ZBC, adding there was need for new players to give listeners and viewers diversity.

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive secretary Takura Zhangazha said World Press Freedom Day commemorations were an expression of a democratic ideal that the Press must be free.

Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe chapter chairperson Loughty Dube said there was need for the government to fulfil its pledges and commitments to implement comprehensive media reforms that would allow new private players into the broadcasting sector as stipulated in the GPA.

The theme for this year’s commemorations is 21st Century Media, New Frontiers, and New Barriers.