THE Government has come up with a raft of measures to guarantee the safety of media practitioners during the upcoming harmonised elections.
A few months before the country’s harmonised elections, the government is prioritising media freedom and the safety of journalists.
A forum on media and elections coverage convened in Harare this Friday saw the government noting various policies implemented under the second republic to ensure a conducive operating environment for journalists.
“During the elections, the Government of Zimbabwe will monitor closely the state of press freedom and the safety of journalists, much of this will be done by MICZ, BAZ, ZEC, civic society and the Ministry,” said the Chief Director in the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Jonathan Gandari.
“Once any violations on journalists are reported, the government will investigate such specific issues and prosecution will be supported. International days such as World Press Freedom Day, and World Radio Day, among others are important and have in the past led to the repeal of laws impeding press freedom, and suggested ways of ensuring the safety of journalists and addressing the issue of impunity.
“The government recognised the importance of ensuring the safety of journalists in a structured way by enacting laws that would serve as a reference for media practice. On this front, the Government put in place institutions to strengthen the work of journalists including the Media Commission of Zimbabwe and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and during elections, the Electoral Act is clear on this.”
Legal frameworks governing electoral coverage also came under the spotlight and media practitioners are convinced that the steps taken by the government will allow them to carry out their duties without fear or favour.
“As media practitioners, we are excited that we are going to carry out our duties without fear and favour because the government assured us that we will be protected during the Election period,” said journalist Thabani Gambiza.
“Today we have representatives from the Police, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the media. The purpose was to discuss what should be done during the election covering process and how journalists should be protected. So the government has promised us that our safety will be protected,” said Media Alliance of Zimbabwe coordinator Mr Nigel Nyamutumbu.
The Second Republic has taken deliberate steps to create a free and safe media environment for journalists, while several television and radio stations have been licenced as part of efforts to open up the airwaves.- ZBC News