By Farai Sibanda
HARARE, September 27, 2013, The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) says Zimbabwe’s media remains oppressed by politicians despite the recent election of a new government.
Speaking during the VMCZ annual general meeting in Harare Thursday, VMCZ chairperson Alec Muchadehama said Zimbabwean politicians continue oppressing the media through using existing repressive media laws.
“Challenges that are faced by the media remain numerous and directly related to the repressive media laws that we find in Zimbabwe. The culture of repression against the media remains particularly with regard to politicians and those in power who also want to oppress the media because they are afraid what they do which is not politically correct, lawful or moral might be exposed by the journalists,” said Muchadehama.
Muchadehama’s sentiments come as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) called for the closure of exiled radio stations also known as pirate radio stations that are offering an alternative to information starved citizens through broadcasting into Zimbabwe from foreign bases.
Bernard Membe, head of the SADC Election Observer Mission, in a final report on Zimbabwe’s July 31 elections, said exiled radio stations broadcasting in the country and the region should cease operations, as they were biased along political party lines.
There are approximately four Zimbabwean radio stations based outside the country, including Short Wave Radio Africa, Radio Voice of the People ( VOP), 1st TV and the Washington based Studio 7.
Muchadehama also said “VMCZ won’t allow any political parties or members of political parties to become members of the VCMZ as the media council wants to remain apolitical.”
In the past recent years repressive media laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) were used by the authorities to harass, arrest and deport journalists from the country.
Some newspapers and broadcasters among them, the Daily News and Radio VOP were bombed by some yet to be identified people who have not yet been apprehended up to now.