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Statement on World Press Freedom Day
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
May 03, 2011

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day under the theme, "21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers".

World Press Freedom Day is a day that reminds us of the vital importance of this core freedom. Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that... the fundamental right of freedom of expression encompasses the freedom "to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.'' Freedom of information is an integral part of freedom of expression and contributes to democratic governance.

As the NCA we take this opportunity to salute the vital role played by journalists in Zimbabwe and the whole world in general. Since the beginning of this year to date we have witnessed harassment, arrests and killings of journalists mainly in the Arab countries where violence is the order of the day.

We however urge all media practitioners to remain fearless and tell any story as it is. As this day comes the NCA is worried about the propagation of hate speech being churned by the state media which does not in any way resemble that of a national broadcaster. ZBC is used in Zimbabwe to propagate parochial interests of ZANU PF whilst attacking other political players in the country.

Though we welcome the coming in of other media houses like the Daily News, News Day, and the Mail, we are concerned about the partisan nature and monopoly in the broadcasting sector. We challenge the media council to register and give licences to other players who have expressed interest.

The process of registering should be simple and flexible to allow interested players to have permission to broadcast without any impediment.

The NCA will continue fighting for a new democratic people driven constitution that guarantees and promotes freedom of expression and access to information.

Lastly we wish to reaffirm Section 1.2(V) of the Zimbabwe People's Charter which aspires for... A free vibrant media that places emphasis on the rights to freedom of expression, information as well as ensuring independence of both public and private media.

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