Munyaradzi Musiiwa, Sunday News Reporter
A WIDER inclusion of new players in the broadcasting services is demonstration of Government’s commitment to opening up democratic and broadcasting airspaces which enables the media to play its ideal watchdog role, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
In her remarks on the World Radio Day commemorations yesterday, Minister Mutsvangwa said media also plays a watchdog role holding Government to account for its promises to the nation while at the same time scanning the environment to give alerts to threats that can derail national effort.
This year’s celebrations were held virtually in compliance with Covid-19 control measures under three sub-themes, evolution, innovation and connection. Minister Mutsvangwa said Government was cognisant of the important role that media plays in making Zimbabwe a better country and has committed to creating an enabling environment for the media.
She said it was incumbent upon the media to also complement Government in informing the nation of developmental initiatives and promote citizen participation.
“The National Development Strategy needs to be unpacked to the nation in a way that is palatable to the men and women in the street. Beyond informing the nation on what each of us can contribute, media also plays a watchdog role holding Government to account for its promises to the nation while at the same time scanning the environment to give alerts to threats that can derail our national effort,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa challenged the media to play its role in gearing the nation towards collective aspirations.
“In addition, media also plays vital roles of projecting a good national image to make Zimbabwe competitive, as well as educating and entertaining the nation. It is thus the role of our media to reveal the linkages, the opportunities and challenges that present themselves to the nation from these noble goals. The Second Republic under the visionary leadership of President ED Mnangagwa is cognisant of the important role that media plays in making Zimbabwe a better country and has committed to creating an enabling environment for the media,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said the country was also pursuing the Zimdigital project to improve the efficient and quality dissemination of information and programmes.
“This is coming by way of streamlining and improving corporate governance in the sector as well as implementing the Zimbabwe Digitalisation project which seeks to modernise media platforms for the efficient and quality dissemination of information and programmes. In an environment of competing national priorities, the Zimdigital project is slowly but surely progressing well given the circumstances,” she said.
Minister Mustvangwa said Government was committed to creating a conducive working environment for media practitioners by removing stringent laws such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
“The Freedom of Information bill is now an Act while the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the Protection of Personal Information bills at advanced stages of enactment. The Broadcasting Services Act is also going to be amended to address the concerns of the sector meanwhile a media policy is being worked on. The nation is beginning to enjoy the fruits of these efforts as we have seen more players being licensed in the print and broadcasting sectors albeit at a pace dictated by the progress that we are making in improving capacity of the platforms,” she said.
World Radio Day was proclaimed in 2011 by the Member States of Unesco, and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day and 13 February became World Radio Day (WRD).