By Tafadzwa Muranganwa
A local media lobby group has continued to pile pressure on government to expedite the media laws reform process.
In a statement, the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe(MAZ) issued ‘minimum demands on the media laws reform process’.
“Government should expeditiously and genuinely reform the country’s media laws in a process that is transparent and inclusive,” stated MAZ.
According to the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, the broadcasting sector needs to be opened up for genuine diversity.
“The country’s media, particularly the broadcasting sector must be opened up to genuinely independent and community based initiatives,” the media reforms lobby group says.
Following many arrests of citizens over anti-government slurs on social media platforms , MAZ is concerned that there is the need to come up with digital security laws that are democratic to promote freedom of expression and other fundamental rights.
“The country’s internet regulatory framework and digital security laws must be democratic and allow for citizens to enjoy rights to communication, access to information and free expression in a secure environment both on and offline,” added MAZ.
It also spoke on the need to create an enabling environment for sustainability of media organisation through establishing funding mechanisms,
“Government should address the sustainability challenges that the Zimbabwean media is currently experiencing and MAZ submits that this could be through the establishment of a media development fund and review of the multiple tax regime,”.
The state controlled media’s unbridled partisan reporting need to be tamed, urges MAZ.
“All state-controlled media should be transformed to public service media in line with the Constitution and democratic practice,” asserted Media Alliance of Zimbabwe.
MAZ is also concerned with the rampant abuse of female journalists hence the call for media laws to be ‘mandatory for media organizations to enact and implement gender sensitive policies that ensure a safe working environment for male and female journalists and effectively ensure women representation and empowerment through the media’.
Meanwhile, MAZ recently elected Tabani Moyo, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) director and chartered marketer, as chairperson of the media freedom advocacy network taking over from Media Monitors director Patience Zirima who also chairs the gender and Media Connect (GMC) board.
Moyo will be deputised by Gender and Media Connect (GMC) national director Abigail Gamanya.