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World Press Freedom Day
Women's Institute for Leadership Development
May 02, 2013

Zimbabwe has been ranked number 133 out of 179 countries by the Reporters without Boarders 2013 World Press Freedom Index which is used to determine the level of press freedom in the world. This is a clear decline from the 121st position it held in 2012. This also raises alarm on whether Zimbabwe is ready for the next General Elections that are expected to channel a people driven democracy and free space for open dialogue.

This year’s theme for World Press Freedom Day is “Safe to Speak: Security Freedom of Expression in All Media.” The 3rd of May has been set aside to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom while evaluating press freedom around the world. We also pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in line of duty.

The Zimbabwean theme for this year is “Media Freedom Now!” which speaks to the urgency of free press for peaceful, credible, and free and fair elections. A free press is essential in any democracy as it keeps its government accountable and in communion with the people it serves. Zimbabwe’s history with the media has been a rocky one mostly characterized with the closure of independent newspapers and restrictive laws that buttress media censorship.

The theme comes at a time when Zimbabwe is ready for change in administration of the GNU. The change has already been catapulted with the new Constitution which should guarantee a freer press to ensure transparency in political processes. What we need is hardcore journalism that seeks the truth without hiding behind sensationalism, gossip and scandal while preserving our principles of ubuntu and appreciating women as cornerstones of our societies.

WILD joins the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day on the 3rd of May and in remembering and paying tribute to the journalists who have worked tirelessly to keep the world informed. The media are community activists, agenda setters, public watchdogs and the voices of the voiceless therefore there is need to protect their rights.

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