The move has been described by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) as ‘undemocratic.’
The media council is premised on the draconian statutory Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which media houses and journalists, have condemned in the past for suppressing freedom of the press and allowing government to control the country’s media.
Mahoso, who stands accused of closing independent media houses, said the media council will be launched on Thursday.
“The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has completed the process of identifying individuals to sit on the Zimbabwe Media Council in line with the requirements of Section 42A of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),” Mahoso said.
“According to the provisions of the Act, the ZMC is required to set up the Zimbabwe Media Council which shall preside over the breaches of ethical and professional standards by journalists and media houses. The Zimbabwe Media Council is made up of individuals representing various stakeholder associations.”
“The Commission, in consultation with the Zimbabwe Media Council and stakeholders, is required to develop a Code of Conduct and Ethics governing the rules of conduct to be observed by media houses and media practitioners. The Commission together with the Zimbabwe Media Council shall be responsible for enforcing the Code of Conduct and Ethics,” he added.
Mahoso said the media council shall consist of 13 members from various interest groups with the chairperson going to be a member of the Zimbabwe Media Commission. He did not specify who appoints the members of the media council.
The VMCZ has threatened to boycott the launch of the council, arguing the move is undemocratic.
VMCZ programmes officer, Loughty Dube, said in a statement: “Regardless of this unfortunate development, the VMCZ shall however continue its mandate as governed by its constitution, membership and stakeholders.
“We will continue to receive media complaints from the public as well as continue with the active promotion of impartial and professional media ethics and media public accountability.”