via Jonathan Moyo re-engages media – DailyNews Live by Xolisani Ncube 21 SEPTEMBER 2013
Information minister Jonathan Moyo, who had a turbulent tenure with journalists between 2000 and 2005 when he was at the same ministry, says it is time to mend relations.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s indaba yesterday, Moyo said he could have acted heavy-handedly during his first stint at the ministry because it was a “war period.”
“All of us here do not dispute that we are Zimbabweans, we may differ in other things of life, but we have a Zimbabwean identity,” he said.
In the spirit of oneness, Moyo said journalists should defend the new Constitution because it is a product of Zimbabweans.
“Section 3 of the Constitution says that ‘recognition of and respect for the liberation struggle’ and Section 90 says the President should ‘recognise and respect the ideals and values of the liberation struggle”, so it is unconstitutional for you not to respect the ethos and values of the liberation struggle,” he said.
A jovial Moyo, who was cracking jokes with media practitioners, artists and filmmakers, promised to make life bearable for the media industry.
“I am promising that we (Ministry) will ensure that all your grievances are addressed and will work for the betterment of the country,” he said.
During his reign as Information minister, a number of independent newspapers, including the Daily News, were shut down.
Moyo promised to turn a new page — saying he is going to work towards protecting the industry and nurture it.
Flanked by former journalist Supa Mandiwanzira, who is now his deputy, Moyo said the ministry would craft a work plan derived from engagements with stakeholders.
Moyo also promised to work with journalists and engage them in a professional manner.
The minister said he will also ensure that the broadcasting sector is digitalised by 2015 in line with international telecommunications regulations.
Moyo said digitisation will also open the floodgates for new players in the broadcasting industry.
“This is not a promise or a threat, it is a reality. These are the benefits of digitalisation, there is nothing that we can do except to embrace the fruits of technology,” he said.
Currently, Zimbabwe has a single broadcaster — a situation which resulted in a proliferation of extra-terrestrial radios and televisions stations, which offer people an alternative.
Moyo said the loss-making state broadcaster, ZBC, should brace for stiff competition from new players in the broadcasting sector, who will emerge as a result of digitalisation.
Participants appealed to Moyo push for a review of excise duty on newsprint, printing material and film production material.
In his response, Moyo said filmmakers should organise themselves in order to get assistance from the government such as access to loans.
Among other issues discussed at the meeting, included, training of journalists, ethics and professionalism which Moyo promised to make sure they were implemented.
Moyo also said that the current crop of journalists were well trained and compared favourably with those from the rest of the continent.