SOUTH African journalist Makhudu Sefara yesterday deplored the polarisation blighting the local media industry and urged journalists to refocus attention on pertinent issues like hunger which has affected about 2,2 million people.
Addressing a regional media conference in Harare, Sefara said: “One person can hold a different view from the next person, so what? Dumisani (Muleya, Zimbabwe Independent editor) has different views from Caesar (Zvayi, the Herald editor), and each of them can feel strongly about their views, but that should not matter.
“The problem with Zimbabwe, the problem with Africa is that we spend a lot of time debating about things that shouldn’t matter. For example 2,2 million people in Zimbabwe are in need of food assistance, we should be discussing how to assist those people instead of debating things that don’t matter.” However, Zvayi said the food shortage figures had been exaggerated.
“The 2,2 million figure has been debunked, it has been torn to shreds. Who did the count? As Zimbabwean people we should not let people come in and count for us,” Zvayi said.
Speaking at the discussion forum, Muleya said the reappointment of Jonathan Moyo as the Media and Information minister had provided journalists with an opportunity to re-engage government with a view to repeal unfriendly media laws.
“It follows logic that some of the statutes that deal with the media will have to either be reworked or repealed,” Muleya said.
“It is inevitable that AIPPA (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) will have to be repealed. We are in a new period where we are seeing new radio stations. The broadcasting environment is opening up. Going forward we will have a kind of new of dispensation.”