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Let’s Talk to Each Other

I AM responding to a story in the Zimbabwe Independent last week about the controversial media conference, and particularly Iden Wetherell’s remarks as Zinef chairperson that he will boycott the event. As far as I can ascertain, no one was consulted about the agenda or their topic.

Like everyone else, I received a fully formed list assigning a topic that I would not have chosen myself. However, that is not the point. In my view, this provides a forum for discussion. Surely we are sufficiently experienced to turn a topic to our own use.


All interventions appear to be very short. And then the action appears to be in the working groups, which include a topic on media regulations and access to information.  

Wetherell’s remarks that there are speakers listed who he does not agree with seems a very strange comment from an editor.

The point of this exercise is surely to air all opinions, and then get down to the business of trying to reach a way forward.

As the head of a regional institution that works closely with Sadc, I can say with certainty that the region expects us to talk to each other and listen to each other, and to seek solutions.

This is not an easy task, but when other sectors including politicians are able to do so, we in the media should not fail to try. Consultations on the agenda could take another year without agreement, and our energy is better spent on the work itself.

Phyllis Johnson,
Executive Director, Southern
Africa Research and
Documentation Centre.


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