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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Index of articles surrounding the debate of the Domestic Violence Bill

  • Debate on the Domestic Violence Bill
    Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
    Weekly Media Update 2006-42
    Monday October 16th 2006 Ė Sunday October 22nd 2006

    ALL print media showed keen interest in the current debate on the controversial Domestic Violence Bill. For once, both sections of the Press provided space for divergent views on the proposed law, which seeks to curb cases of domestic violence. These ranged from those who wholly welcomed the Bill to those who gave qualified endorsement.

    Most of the reservations were mainly on the Billís contentious clauses that classified "unreasonable denial of conjugal rights" and "possessiveness" as abuses. There was general unanimity among commentators that such clauses would cause problems, as there were no set standards that could be used to measure such issues.

    The Herald serialised the planned law for the benefit of its readers.

    However, although these media mirrored the passionate debate on the Bill among the public, they narrowly projected MDC MP Timothy Mubhawu as the only dissenting legislator in Parliament. This was despite the fact that when the Bill was earlier discussed in Parliament, ZTV (5/10, 8pm) reported that it had "divided" MPs "along gender lines" with "females supporting it while some males (opposed) it".

    But while the print media gave significant space to the proposed law, the electronic media were largely reticent. In fact, online agencies and SW Radio Africa only made reference to the matter in the context of three stories they carried on the suspension of Mubhawu by the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC over his parliamentary remarks denouncing the Bill. ZBH only aired two stories on the matter, which were buried deep in its bulletins. One was an announcement that the Bill had "sailed through" the Parliamentary Legal Committee with "minimum amendments" (ZTV, 17/10, 8pm) while the other reported the UN commending the proposed law (Spot FM, 18/10, 1pm).

    Radio Zimbabwe ignored the issue altogether.

    However, it was difficult to determine how Studio 7 handled the matter, and indeed other issues of the day too, because its Short Wave frequency, which has been accessible until recently, was suffocated by a droning sound throughout the week. Notably, the sound, which is similar to the one used to jam the stationís Medium Wave, SW Radio Africa and Voice of the People, mostly began just as the stationís bulletins started and ended immediately afterwards.

    MMPZ condemns this unwarranted interference, which is depriving the stationís audiences of the chance to access news about Zimbabwe and various other pertinent issues affecting their livelihoods.

    Visit the MMPZ fact sheet

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