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Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) presses Parliament on media self-regulation
Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)
July 31, 2009
Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) has called on the Zimbabwe
Parliament to recognise and support the journalists' initiative
to self-regulate and transform into a professional industry through
The VMCZ Research and
Information Officer, Hilton Zvidzayi, accompanied by Chris Mhike,
VMCZ Councillor, gave a background to the principles and notion
of self-regulation when they met members of the Parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technologies.
He described as the contemporary democratic route progressive nations
is based on the notion that media must develop internal structures
of responsibility and accountability that address society's
concerns on its operations. Through VMCZ, journalists in Zimbabwe
are saying we want to be professional and ethical while opening
ourselves to direct criticism and positive contribution from consumers
of our products," said Zvidzayi.
VMCZ was established
to serve as a mediator between media and the public and has a complaints
mechanism through which members of the public can raise complaints
against newspapers and broadcasting stations.
"Civil laws work
for the rich, powerful and corrupt only while the man in the street
suffers in his backyard from media excesses. Alternatively, VMCZ
offers a complaints system that is free of charge, fast and informal.
We are focussed on restoring damaged reputations not financial gain.
"A state regulated
media looks bad while laws create saints. State regulation of the
media has been applied selectively and led to arrests, harassment
of journalists and closure of newspapers," added Zvidzayi.
He briefed the Parliamentary
Committee on the consultations held with stakeholders prior to the
formation of VMCZ where journalists, civic society, business representatives,
political parties and government were engaged. All stakeholders
including political parties in the inclusive government and state
media were agreeable to media self-regulation until its formation
when state media pulled out and government came up with the idea
of a Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
Moyo (MP) called on the VMCZ to recommend a transitional set-up
for co-existence with ZMC because government cannot backtrack on
its obligations to the GPA
where establishment of the state commission is mentioned.
In response, Chris Mhike
said ZMC can work to promote press freedom and ensure that constitutional
rights of the media are upheld. Other functions such as adjudication
of complaints and registration of media practitioners can be in
left to VMCZ that already has a complaints mechanism and the necessary
requirements in place.
Hon. Gift Chimanikire,
Chairperson of the Committee, pledged his committee's support
for media self-regulation through the Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe and said change would be seen in the media industry.
The meeting with the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee is part of VMCZ's lobbying
and advocacy strategy to reach out to all relevant stakeholders
in Zimbabwe to promote media self-regulation.
Visit the VMCZ
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