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statement on the comments attributed to Mr. G. Charamba
Media Council of Zimbabwe
July 22, 2011
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) notes the unfortunate
statements made to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media,
Information and Communications Technologies by the Permanent Secretary
in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, Mr. G. Charamba.
The statements attributed to Mr. Charamba in The Herald of 22 July
2011 are not reflective of the truth, particularly where he makes
reference to the VMCZ. The VMCZ is not an organization that is awaiting
'baptism' by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) or
any other body. The VMCZ, having been in existence since 2007, is
a testimony to the enjoyment of the right of media stakeholders
and citizens to freely associate and assemble as provided for in
Section 21 of Zimbabwe's Constitution.
In exercising this right to associate and assemble, media stakeholders
established the VMCZ in order to protect and enhance another fundamental
human right as guaranteed in Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, Article 9 of the African
Charter on Human and Peoples Rights and Section 20 of the Constitution
of Zimbabwe. This right being the right of all citizens to freedom
of expression and access to information.
The mandate of the VMCZ is therefore self-regulation of the media
in order to allow the greatest enjoyment of the right of all citizens
to freedom of expression and access to information. It is a mandate
that does not require 'baptism'.
Where Mr. Charamba is cited as saying that the Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) allows
the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) to form a statutory Media Council
by 'consensus' the VMCZ can only express regret at the
misleading nature of such a statement. AIPPA is a law that has continually
been used to curtail freedom of expression through the mandatory
registration of journalists/media houses; the arrest of journalists
and the closure of media houses. To state that the ZMC can arrive
at a 'consensus' with media stakeholders is to be dishonest
about the full negative import of AIPPA on media freedom and freedom
of expression in Zimbabwe.
Given this narrative of the usage of AIPPA against media freedom
in our country, the VMCZ reiterates that it is of paramount importance
that the Government and the Parliament
of Zimbabwe, move much more purposefully toward the repealing
of this undemocratic Act of Parliament sooner rather than later.
This is regardless of the outcome of the constitutional reform process,
which the inclusive government has misleadingly begun to refer to
on a regular basis as an excuse as to why there is no progress on
issues such as media reform.
The VMCZ is also aware of the Kariba Media Conference that Mr. Charamba
is cited as referring to in the Herald. The full report of the Kariba
Conference is however still not a public document and where it is
suggested that among it's resolutions is the promise of a
Media Practitioners Bill, the VMCZ insists that such a proposition
should be guided by a firm understanding of the principle of self
regulation of the media as democratic practice and thorough media
stakeholder and public consultation.
the VMCZ fact
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