As the media laws reform process gathers momentum, the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) reaffirms media stakeholders’ minimum demands on the necessary interventions that ought to be undertaken to fully democratise the country’s media and information sector.
- Government should expeditiously and genuinely reform the country’s media laws in a process that is transparent and inclusive.
- The country’s media, particularly the broadcasting sector, must be opened up to genuinely independent and community- based initiatives.
- All state-controlled media should be transformed to public service media in line with the Constitution and democratic practice.
- The country’s internet regulatory framework and digital security laws must be democratic and allow for citizens to enjoy rights to communication, access to information and free expression in a secure environment both on and offline.
- Government should address the sustainability challenges that the Zimbabwean media is currently experiencing and MAZ submits that this could be through the establishment of a media development fund and review of the multiple tax regime.
- Media laws should make it mandatory for media organisations to enact and implement gender-sensitive policies that ensure a safe working environment for male and female journalists and effectively ensure women representation and empowerment through the media.
- The safety of journalists must be guaranteed and respected by both state and non-state actors.
- The media must maintain the highest standards of professionalism and in promoting media accountability, MAZ submits that self-regulation is the most democratic and affordable form of ensuring the media plays its watchdog role effectively.
MAZ is an alliance of media support organisations including the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe chapter), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (Zinef), Gender and Media Connect (GMC), the Media Centre, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (Zacras), the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the African Community Publishing Development Trust (ACPDT). MAZ work focuses on four key areas which are:
• Freedom of expression
• Right to information
• Media freedom
• Media law and policy reform
MAZ Programmes manager