BY LORRAINE MUROMO
Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa yesterday said government was ready to further open up the airwaves and ensure a democratic media which operated without fear of harassment.
Mutsvangwa said this in Harare at an Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) event to commemorate the Zimbabwe Independent’s 25th anniversary celebrations. Zimbabwe Independent is one of the newspapers under the AMH stable.
Other titles under AMH include NewsDay, The Standard, Southern Eye, Weekly Digest and an online television and radio station Heart & Soul Broadcasting Services.
She said the backbone of any democracy was an independent, professional and responsible media that worked for the development of the country.
“The media plays a vital role in democratic societies, and we agree as government, let me be very clear, that we are there to ensure pluralism and diversity in the media sector,” Mutsvangwa said.
“As a ministry, we also want government to ensure an enabling environment for the media to thrive.”
Mutsvangwa said the information dissemination role played by the media was very crucial in forming opinions and informing ordinary citizens, students, businesspeople and political parties.
“Free and open media systems give voice to citizens, test candidates and political parties during elections, and they inform policy debates, legislatures, investigate corruption, hold public officers accountable and enable democratic governance.
“As the second republic, President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said the mantra is ‘Zimbabwe is open for business’ and us as the Ministry of Information and Publicity, we take direction from the President as we say ‘Zimbabwe is open for media business’.”
AMH chairman Trevor Ncube said the media was not a tool to publish content which supported political parties, adding that the media’s main objectives were national development, unity and political stability.
“Political parties either the opposition or the ruling party have narrow agendas, but the media must have the bigger picture where the nation has a platform to engage in a robust manner,” Ncube said.
Editor-in-chief Wisdom Mdzungairi said as an innovative media house, AMH was on an adventure that had only begun.
“I think we are on an adventure that has only just begun, there is a lot of promise on the horizon. And I think we will have to reinforce ourselves, perhaps locally to have this vision and then expand into broadcasting,” he said. “AMH looks ahead with optimism. We have full confidence in our products, our brands and our journalists who continue to tell the truth for its own sake to shine the light in the darkest parts of our young democracy.”
Mdzungairi said AMH’s publications were committed to delivering factual, timely and relevant news throughout the country.