Govt urged to craft laws that guarantee media freedom

MEDIA rights lobby groups have called on President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government to craft laws that guarantee media freedom and protect journalists in the course of their duties, particularly ahead of this year’s general elections.

BY OBEY MANAYITI

In the past elections, journalists have been caught up in a crossfire, where they were beaten up by political actors and State security agents, as government was reluctant to enact laws to protect them.

In statements to mark World Press Freedom Day yesterday, various organisations challenged the government to do more to safeguard journalists.

This year’s commemorations were held under the theme Keeping Power in Check: Media Justice and the Rule of Law.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) said the country had earned itself a bad reputation of persecuting journalists, especially those from the private media. CiZC said that negative perception should end under the “new dispensation”.

“We will consistently condemn violence against journalists and oppose – in bilateral contacts with third countries as well as in multilateral and regional fora – any legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits freedom of expression and will take concrete steps to prevent and respond to attacks against journalists and bloggers, including emergency assistance to protect human rights defenders at high risk, sometimes by means of relocation,” CiZC said.

Special adviser to the President, Christopher Mutsvangwa, told guests at commemorations organised by the Media Institute for Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe chapter that journalists must organise themselves to effectively lobby Parliament for implementation of media freedom.

The European Union, in a statement, also said it was determined to keep protecting and promoting freedom of opinion and of expression as rights to be exercised by everyone everywhere, based on the principles of equality.

“We will consistently condemn violence against journalists and oppose – in bilateral contacts with third countries, as well as in multilateral and regional fora – any legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits freedom of expression and will take concrete steps to prevent and respond to attacks against journalists and bloggers, including emergency assistance to protect human rights defenders at high risk, sometimes by means of relocation,” the EU said in a statement.

IFEX, a global human rights network of organisations defending the right to freedom of expression and information, said strengthening the watchdog role of independent journalism was necessary to expose electoral violations, gender-based inequalities, and human rights abuses.


1 Comment

  1. FIRST of AL WE SHOULD DO AWAY WITH HATE SPEECH AT ZBC AND HERALD BEFORE WE DISCUSS ANYTHING ABOUT MEDIA FREEDOM haina basa freedom pakadai apa.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.