By Moses Ziyambi
Political analyst and media consultant Takura Zhangazha yesterday bemoaned disunity in the media industry and called on journalists to put interests of their profession first by shunning factionalism if they are to gain the respect of politicians and the public.
Addressing delegates at a workshop on democratisation and constitutional reporting hosted by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) in Masvingo, Zhangazha urged journalists to embrace the highest professional standards and fight for the cause of their industry.
“The media and journalists have a role to protect their interests. You must be involved in advocating and arguing for your side,” said Zhangazha who also called for journalists to push for the realignment of media laws to the provisions of the new constitution.
“You must continue with re-engagements for the realignment process and fight for the democratisation of the country,” said Zhangazha.
He also encouraged journalists to familiarise themselves with the new constitution, saying it was only through reading and understanding the supreme law that they will then fully know their rights and argue their cases.
“It is compulsory for you to discuss the new constitution, to read the constitution from cover to cover,” added Zhangazha, encouraging the media to spread awareness and to publicise the document.
“Hurumende yeZimbabwe kubva 1980 inotya vatapi venhau, nekutapwa nekufambiswa kwemashoko (the government of Zimbabwe since 1980 is afraid of journalists, the gathering and dissemination of information). You guys must fight in your own corner,” he said.
“You are not defending your profession. That is why politicians have been treating you with contempt,” said Zhangazha.
Speaking at the same occasion, veteran journalist and media consultant Tapfuma Machakaire urged journalists to aim for excellent constitutional reporting, saying a lot still needs to be done in terms of monitoring the progress of the implementation of the new constitution.
“When you come up with a story idea, you have to think outside the box. The idea is to come up with relevant stories that you may then develop to reflect on what is happening on the ground,” said Machakaire.
The country’s media industry is governed by more than seven laws, most of which are in conflict with Sections 61 of the constitution which deals with freedom of expression and Section 62 which guarantees journalists’ right to access information. These laws include the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), which, among other things, requires the registration of media houses and journalists, and the highly contentious Criminal Procedure and Evidence (Amendment) Act which has often been evoked of late to convict journalists for petty offences.Local