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First report of the Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology on the state of public media in Zimbabwe
Parliament of Zimbabwe
June 20, 2011

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Introduction

Media, Information and Communication Technology resolved to undertake an enquiry into the State of Public Media in Zimbabwe. The enquiry was motivated by the Inclusive Government's commitment to instigate media reforms in the country. Article 19 of the "Global Political Agreement" entered into by ZANU PF, MDC-T and MDC-M in September 2008 recognizes "the importance of freedom of expression and the role of the media in a multi-party democracy" and calls for "the issuance of licences" to broadcasters other than the "public broadcaster". In that spirit, the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity organized a Media Stakeholder Conference in Kariba in 2009 to discuss issues relating to the media industry. The GPA therefore calls for diversity in the media through licensing of new players in both broadcasting and print media. With the opening up of the media industry, the Committee was compelled to enquire into the state of the public media with the following objectives:

Objectives

(a) To appreciate the operations of Public Media organizations and assess their preparedness in view of the anticipated opening up of the media.

(b) To appreciate challenges faced by public media institutions in fulfilling their mandate;

(c) To find out what the expectations of the stakeholders and the public in general were with regard to the operations of the public media institutions vis-à-vis their mandates;

(d) To find out the views and recommendations of media stakeholders on the legal operating environment; and

(e) To recommend action for improved services by the public media to the relevant authorities.

Methodology

In undertaking this enquiry the Committee adopted the following methodology:

Oral Evidence Sessions.

The Committee held oral evidence sessions with the following public media institutions:

Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, Transmedia, and Zimpapers. The purpose of the oral evidence sessions was to get an overview of the operations by the parent Ministry and the various entities under its administration. The Committee received further oral evidence from the Zimbabwe Association of Editors, Zimbabwe National Editor’s Forum and Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe on the media operating legal environment. The Committee also received oral evidence from Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) on its operations and challenges being faced.

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