via Jonathan Moyo acknowledges dark past, promises better media fortunes | The Zimbabwean by Staff Reporter 21.09.13
The recently appointed Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Jonathan Moyo, on Friday acknowledged a dark past for the media industry, but promised that his ministry would work to ensure a positive turnaround in the sector.
Addressing more than 100 stakeholders who included publishers, editors, heads of media civil society and chief executive officers at Munhumutapa in Harare, Moyo announced that the stakeholders’ meeting that lasted about six hours had been called to get participants input that would be used to draw up a work plan by his ministry.
“Normally, people want to think of the past as a paradise lost, but, unfortunately, that is not the case. What happened in the past should not happen again. I promise I will do something regarding your requests,” said Moyo after listening to numerous requests from the participants.
He regretted that he had failed to initiate a similar stakeholders’ conference when he was made Information Minister in the last decade, saying “if that had happened, we might have had a shared understanding”.
The requests ranged from the need to license community radio stations and other broadcasters, boosting media freedom and access to information as enshrined under sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution and acting on ZBC and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe to reduce tariffs, to ensuring that journalistic standards are improved through effective training.
Moyo, who was in a jovial mood and acknowledged a number of senior journalists as his “true friends”—among them the former Editor of the Daily News, Geoff Nyarota—has been accused in the past of bringing misery to journalists through punitive legislation, particularly the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, and the closure of several media outlets.
He held the same post from the early 2000s to 2005, when he resigned from Zanu (PF) and was removed from his ministerial post after an alleged palace coup to topple President Robert Mugabe in which he was reportedly the mastermind, going on to successfully stand as an independent candidate for MP in Tsholotsho the same year.
Despite losing the seat in the July 31 general elections this year and President Mugabe’s earlier vow that he would not appoint to cabinet those that would have lost, Moyo bounced back.
Moyo said, in the process of re-engagement with the media, there was need for the stakeholders to acknowledge that all should work for the good of the country.
“The background is about the country and less about ourselves as individuals. We need to reflect on what we have in common and be guided by the national founding values and principles. We need to be constructive and abide by the Constitution,” said Moyo, who added that Zimbabwean journalists were among the best trained in the world.
He urged aspiring broadcasters to produce “bouquets that reflect as celebration of national content that is creative, innovative and using up to date technology”, before describing content from Matabeleland as replication of South African values.
Moyo shared the high table with his deputy, Supa Mandiwanzira, and the ministry’s Permanent Secretary, George Charamba, who said they would “work for your (media’s) success” and acknowledged that there was a problem at BAZ which was accused of imposing exorbitant tariffs on broadcasters.