Story by Wellington Makonese
As the world commemorates Press Freedom Day this Wednesday, Zimbabwean journalists have commended the government for creating an enabling environment for the media to thrive through plurality and diversity.
In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly officially proclaimed World Press Freedom Day to observe the fundamentals of the profession, which involves informing, educating, and entertaining the greater population.
While freedoms of the press constantly come under threat across the world through harassment, the government of Zimbabwe has been hailed for establishing an enabling environment for scribes to work unhindered.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary General, Perfect Hlungwane said, “We have seen the opening up of airwaves to ensure that people have access, but a lot still needs to be done to ensure accessibility. One such score has been the repeal of AIPPA, though there are several other constitutional provisions that safeguard and guarantee media freedoms that have been credited for allowing for divergent voices.”
The correlation between journalistic rights and responsibilities has also been brought to the limelight.
“As a country, we have made steps in ensuring that people operate freely with more radio and television stations. One pertinent issue would be striking the balance between rights and responsibilities, freedoms come with the obligation to inform and push for developments, so this is one aspect that we look at in such celebrations. But one thing that may need careful considerations to safeguard freedoms is to look at the remunerations of the press,” noted Young Journalists Association Board Member, Mlondolozi Ndlovu.
With more community radio stations being licenced, ownership patterns reflect the country’s commitment to ensuring press freedom.
Vemuganga FM Chipinge Editor Owen Dliwayo said, “As we mark this day, we want to thank the government for offering licences as Vemuganga FM in Chipinge which will soon open. There will be divergent voices.”
Under the Second Republic, media operations have been relaxed as witnessed through the opening up of the airwaves to ensure plurality and diversity.