Media Practitioners Bill will professionalise media industry

The Media Practitioners Bill will help professionalise the media industry in Zimbabwe and will raise the standards in the profession, Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa has said.

Speaking during the 10th Anniversary of the United Nations Plan of Action on the safety of journalists which was celebrated in line with the commemorations of the International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists which was attended by journalists, media partners, civil society and government officials, Minister Mutsvangwa said the Government has worked to enable a conducive environment for the media.

“As we commemorate the International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, it is imperative to highlight some major milestones achieved by the government in enabling a conducive environment for the media. Government repealed the Access to Information Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) which had been the bone of contention between the government and the media. AIPPA was replaced by the freedom of Information Act, and the Government of Zimbabwe also enacted the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act (ZMC),” said Minister Mutsvanga.

She said the government is also in the process of amending the  Broadcasting Services Act “this is being done in order to attract  investment into the sector.”

Mutsvanga said the Media Practitioners Bill will also bring public respect to the practitioners.

“Government in consultation with stakeholders is also drafting the Media Practitioners Bill which will embrace issues of co-regulation and help professionalise the media industry. This will raise standards in the profession which will also bring public respect to the practitioners,” she said.

“We need to work together, train our journalists so that we eliminate the issue of vulnerable journalists, some were given brown envelopes just for the sake of writing something to destroy another person or destroy a community or a country.”

She said the Government was willing to work with the media to develop the country.

“When we speak like this, it doesn’t necessarily mean that we are not open for criticism, we want to be criticised but we want criticism which is constructive, we don’t claim that we know it all, neither are we claiming that we are doing everything right but we are saying come on board, let’s have constructive criticism, lets seat together and see how best we can build a country with the best human rights,” said Minister Mustwanga.

Mutsvangwa added that as a ministry they have also adopted an open-door policy that allows journalists to call in anytime and access information.

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