State Media|Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill must have a converged accreditation process, rather than maintaining the state of affairs where there are multiple bodies registering media practitioners, legislators recently heard.
Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services heard that the creation of additional bodies accrediting journalists other than the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) was untenable and created unnecessary bureaucracy.
This was said by Media Institute of Southern Africa legal representative Mr Chris Mhike during a stakeholders’ public hearing consultative meeting in Harare, called by the portfolio committee to solicit views on the ZMC Bill.
“There are too many bodies that deal with regulation of the media. We ought to be moving towards a converged regulatory body mechanism,” he said.
“Let us aim at regulatory convergence and that convergence is not adequately dealt with in this Bill. We will propose that there be a mechanism under the Bill to ensure that we limit bodies that journalists must report to or must be subservient to.
“I have spoken to sports journalists who said when they go to sports events, some of the bodies do not recognise press cards issued by the ZMC, so in addition to the press card, they have to undergo a registration process with various sports bodies.
“During election season, ZEC is the regulatory body and has a separate accreditation process of journalists. That is not acceptable. Even Parliament do have another process of accrediting journalists. I understand there might be administration processes, but what we see in reality is that there is more than just administration procedure, but a multiple layer of registration and accreditation by various bodies.”