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  • Interviews for Media Commission on Monday – Bill Watch Special
    Veritas
    August 01, 2009

    Interviews of Short-listed Applicants for Zimbabwe Media Commission and Broadcasting Authority Board

    Monday 3rd August, 9 am through to 5 pm in the Senate Chamber, Parliament

    28 applicants have been short-listed out of the 126 who applied for appointment to the Media Commission [see list of names below] and each interview is scheduled to last for 15 minutes. As well as selecting candidates for the Commission, some candidates will also be selected for the Board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

    Proceedings Open to Public

    The public will be permitted to attend [to watch and to listen but not to participate]. As seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend is advised to check with Parliament’s Public Relations office on Harare +263 4 700181. The public entrance to Parliament is on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue between Second and Third Streets.

    Selection Procedures

    Under section 100N of the Constitution it is the President who appoints the chairperson and the eight other members of the Media Commission. But he must choose the appointees from a list of at least twelve nominees submitted to him by Parliament’s Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO]. Monday’s interviews are designed to assist the Committee to compile its list for submission to the President.

    The CSRO also intends to use the Media Commission short list to select six nominees for appointment to the Board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe [BAZ]. [Section 4 of the Broadcasting Services Act provides that the President must appoint three of the twelve members of the Board from a list of six nominees submitted by the CSRO.] [Note: the advertisement for applicants did not mention applicants might also be considered for the Broadcasting Authority Board, so presumably applicants will be asked during their interviews whether they would be interested in being nominated.]

    Qualifications for Appointment to Media Commission

    Section 100N of the Constitution says that persons appointed to the Commission “must be chosen for their knowledge of and experience in the press, print or electronic media or broadcasting”.

    Interview panel

    The full CSRO are due to be present, but interviews will be conducted, using structured questions drafted by Parliament, by a five-member panel of its members:

    • Senator Obert Gutu [MDC-T]
    • Thabitha Khumalo MP [MDC-T]
    • Edward Mkhosi MP [MDC-M]
    • Mabel Chinomona [ZANU-PF]
    • Senator Chief Fortune Charumbira.

    Some of the Candidates

    [Note this list of candidates for interview is not complete]

    • Dr Tafataona Mahoso, former chairman of the now defunct Media and Information Commission
    • Chris Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe's former ambassador in Beijing
    • Vimbai Chivaura, a university lecturer
    • Matthew Takaona, journalist, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists president for more than 10 years
    • Chris Mhike, lawyer and chairman of Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations
    • Useni Sibanda, pastor and head of Christian Alliance
    • Roger Stringer, publishing consultant
    • Henry Muradzikwa former editor of Ziana and The Sunday Mail, short-term Director General of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings
    • Kindness Paradza, journalist
    • Miriam Madziwa, journalist
    • Ropafadzo Mapimhidze, journalist with the Herald
    • Clemence Mabaso, media studies lecturer
    • Nqobile Nyathi, media studies lecturer at NUST
    • Rino Zhuwarara, media studies lecturer
    • Lawton Hikwa, media studies lecturer at NUST
    • Millicent Mombeshora, Reserve Bank, Head of Strategic Planning and Special Projects
    • Timothy Nyahunzvi, former Head of Mass Communications Division, Harare Polytechnic

    Powers and Functions of the Media Commission

    The January 2008 Amendment to the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [AIPPA] made provision for a Zimbabwe Media Commission and outlined its functions and powers in detail – but that Commission was not set up. The Amendment Act abolished MIC [Media and Information Commission] and there has been no legal entity in MIC’s place.

    Constitution Amendment No.19 of February this year then made provision for a Zimbabwe Media Commission and it is this Constitutional Media Commission that is about to be set up. But Amendment No.19 did not outline its functions and powers in much detail [e.g. they do not include registration of mass media services or journalists]; instead it makes provision for an enabling Act to flesh these out.

    The question is whether, pending an enabling Act, can the new Constitutional Media Commission operate under the AIPPA provisions. If it cannot [and legal opinion is divided on this] it would not be able to start fully functioning immediately [which would mean a delay in granting registration to new newspapers and other “mass media services”]. Unfortunately, Parliament has left the law in a confused state and will not be sitting again until September. ”].

    Comment: An interpretation that allows the new Commission to operate under AIPPA or set up a “transitional” registration mechanism would respect Article 19.1 of the Global Political Agreement, which requires “the immediate processing” of all applications for registration. But this should not be an excuse for a delaying enacting the enabling legislation for the new Commission, so that its position is legally clear. [Note: the Government, private media and civil society have agreed that AIPPA needs to be repealed and replaced with a new Act dealing with Access to Information only. Government have suggested another new Act to cover registration for “administrative purposes” but private media practitioners are pushing for a move to self regulation through a Voluntary Media Council.]

    The Three Other Constitutional Commissions

    Short-listing and interviewing of applicants for appointment to the three other Commissions will proceed in stages after Monday’s interviews, in the following order: Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. In all over 600 applications were received for the four Commissions.

    *Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

    Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.

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