Take government benevolence with caution, media players warned

via Take government benevolence with caution, media players warned | SW Radio Africa by Mthulisi Mathuthu October 30, 2013

There is a ‘definite intention’ on the part of the Zimbabwean government to open up the airwaves to new players but not for the benefit of human rights and democracy, a leading media activist has said.

The outgoing executive director of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, Takura Zhangazha, said Wednesday that while reforms in the broadcasting sector were ‘most likely’ going to happen, “quantity will far outweigh quality.”

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Cutting Edge programme, Zhangazha warned that new players will most probably concentrate more on business and entrainment content, as opposed to human rights and democracy. He warned media players not to give the government the ‘benefit of the doubt’ but instead adopt a ‘wait and see’ approach.

Already, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has invited applications for 25 ‘commercial radio’ licences.

But Zhangazha warned that while the application process would probably be a ‘free for all’ only people with too much money and access to technology will benefit from the government ‘benevolence’.

On Information Minister Jonathan Moyo’s current conciliatory stance towards the media, Zhangazha warned journalists to remain ‘cautious’. Since his reappointment to government Moyo has been touring media houses urging cordial relations. Moyo has also been seen shaking hands with journalists with whom he previously clashed.

Zhangazha said unless the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) was repealed, the media environment would not change much and journalists would still be faced with the same old challenges.

Speaking on the same programme, deported international correspondent Mercedes Sayagues told SW Radio Africa that Moyo’s sincerity can only be proved if he allowed her, together with fellow deportee Andrew Meldrum, back in the country.

Sayagues was deported from Zimbabwe in 2001 while Meldrum was deported in 2002. Also deported around the same time was BBC’s Joseph Winter.

In all the dramatic incidents which drew international outcry Moyo played a key role. Moyo was also blamed for the closure of the Daily News in 2003 and is widely known to have crafted the repressive AIPPA legislation that help clampdown of media freedom.



  • comment-avatar
    Daniel Berejena 9 years ago

    The fact that Eric Night and Ezra Sibanda have had to withdraw their election petitions tells volumes – these two must have been told that they will not be able to get licences if they remained MDC-T.

  • comment-avatar
    Shame 9 years ago

    or they are coming back to Zbc segore riya Wilfred Mugeyi came back to the national team and missed the goal-post nets

  • comment-avatar
    Yes Sir Boss My ass 9 years ago

    Can a dictatorship such as this be dislodged through free and fair elections? Can our society destroy this pervasive and evil foundation from within? No, unless the international community aggressively intervenes because change can only be fuelled from outside our society. Those Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can indeed assist and stop complaining why things have not changed.
    That is the journey we must take now; to destroy in our minds the myth that there is no outside. To accept that yes, we have been the fuel to this dictatorship and we can indeed change our circumstances through a deliberate albeit slow effort of changing our minds.

    We can indeed move Zimbabwe from a dictatorship to a democracy if we choose to. So, we are for class struggle, not for race struggle. We are for the masses everywhere, whether African, Asian, or white, whether black, yellow or brown, whether South African, Zimbabwe, Brazilian, Yemenese, Russian or British. We do not hate a man because he is Chinese, or Indian, or Zulu, or Afrikaner, or Arab or a Jew. We fight the ruling class because it is a ruling class, because it exploits and oppresses, not because of what it looks like- and we know the ruling class is also international and drawn from all peoples. There are European politicians and capitalists, as there are also American politicians and capitalists, also Arab politicians and capitalists, also African politicians and capitalists.

    We stand for a movement of the masses of all countries, against the elites of all countries. And nationalism is poison to such a struggle, an international class struggle. Let’s take two examples. One is xenophobia: dividing working classes and peasantries between locals and foreigners, which often also means pitting ordinary people against each other because of their culture, or their race, or even their religion. Another is racial hatred: you have seen how Robert Mugabe used the issue of white land ownership in Zimbabwe to label the democratic movement as the tool of the British, and to hide his own crimes. Above we said So Mugabe said the MDC was the tool of Tony Blair, and that anyone who opposed him wanted Ian Smith back! What nonsense. The people were struggling for justice, in their own interests.

    There must be support from the South African working class for the struggles in Zimbabwe and other countries suffering from terrible regimes. COSATU has taken this position: what is needed is action, not just words. What is also needed is to challenge xenophobia and divisions between the South African masses and the ordinary Zimbabwean people in exile in South Africa. The key task in Zimbabwe is to overthrow Mugabe. This can only be done through struggle from below: through general strikes, struggles around food and housing, struggles against evictions, against cut-offs, against retrenchments. Even an MDC government would be better than Mugabe’s regime: there must be no illusions that ZANU-PF can become a better, nicer, kinder party. We can work with any forces opposed to Mugabe, so long as we do not compromise our principles, or sacrifice our objectives.

    Even so, we must be revolutionary watchdogs against the emergence of new elites in these struggles, elites that aim only to replace Mugabe’s regime, with their own. As Mugabe’s regime shows, the new bosses are as bad as the old bosses: the forms of oppression have changed, but the old evils – inequality, oppression, and suffering – remain. So, the key tasks are to fight neoliberalism and dictatorship – but this is not enough. There must be a struggle for a new world: a world of solidarity, equality, grassroots democracy, a world freed of capitalism There are those who say there is no alternative to globalisation and neoliberalism: we say a “New World is Possible.” There are those who say the choice is between Mugabe and Blair: we say we don’t want either of them. The masses deserve better than an endless parade of tyrants. The African masses, like the masses elsewhere, want a better world, and they deserve it.