The Information Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) has received the final draft report from their consultant Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC) last Thursday to bring to an end an inquiry that exceeded its time by more than seven months.
Impi chairperson Geoff Nyarota confirmed receipt of the voluminous report compiled from reports collected all over the country by his committee.
“SARDC finally submitted the draft Impi report only yesterday, February 4 2015. It consists of 458 pages, comprising an executive summary, key inquiry findings and the report’s conclusions and recommendations, as well as 208 pages of important and comprehensive submissions by key information and media industry stakeholders,” Nyarota said.
Impi was commissioned by the Information ministry to inquire into media operations, legislative environment, training and ethics among other things with a view to shaping new policy on the industry. It was made up of academia and media practitioners from both public and private media.
Nyarota added that the report was delayed by the unrealistic deadlines which had been originally set without considering the scope of work to be done.
“The scope of the task ahead of Impi assumed such a magnitude that by the time the contract was signed on September 30 2014, between the ministry and SARDC, the experts engaged for the purpose of analysing the data and material submitted by Impi and of drafting the report, the new deadline had been extended to end of October 2014,” he added.
“But even this deadline, as it turned out, was unrealistic.”
The Impi chairperson said he was circulating the report among the 24 Impi panellists for their feedback before a final report is printed for presentation to Information minister, Jonathan Moyo by end of this week.
Nyarota refused to shed light on the findings of the report save to say: “The report contains 36 pages of recommendations to accompany the nine chapters of thematic reports.”
He also could not say whether there were attempts to turn Impi into a permanent committee within the ministry for the duration of the government’s tenure of office.
“If there are any plans to transform Impi into a permanent panel of inquiry for the suggested duration, this development or prospect thereof has not been officially or otherwise communicated to me, as chairperson, by the ministry of Information,” he said.
“If there is any substance of truth in this speculation, therefore, then the ministry has kept it a closely guarded secret.”
When pressed further on the matter, Nyarota said: “Our thoughts and proposals for the future are contained in the recommendations that we are submitting to the ministry of Information as part of the Impi report.”