From left...ZMC CEO Dr Tafataona Mahoso, Academy Chinamhora and CNAZ chairperson Tawanda Munikwa
TellZim News Reporter
Kwekwe – The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Dr Tafataona Mahoso has assured the Community Newspapers Association of Zimbabwe (CNAZ) that the government was ready to support privately-run community newspapers.
Speaking to publishers of community newspapers in Kwekwe last week, Dr Mahoso, who for long had been perceived to be an enemy of the private media and free speech, said the role of community newspapers in the development of the country can never be downplayed.
He said community newspapers had more influence than other newspapers in helping the people to make critical decisions.
According to Dr Mahoso, ZMC has since approached Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and other government institutions, urging them to work with community newspapers.
"ZEC must work with you community newspapers because you are the people who are on the ground. National papers do not have the kind of influence that you have in your communities. It's high time that government institutions are urged to focus on community newspapers.
"We need to strengthen community newspapers in Zimbabwe because they have the capacity to end political violence and electoral disputes," said Dr Mahoso.
However, Dr Mahoso said the government was determined to see at least two Black vernacular newspapers being launched before the end of this year.
The two newspapers, however, must not be in Shona and Ndebele but any other indigenous languages spoken in many areas across the country
"We want to see you coming up with at least two community newspapers in our own vernaculars before the end of this year," he said.
Publishers who attended the workshop praised TellZim News for taking the initiative to write stories in Shangani language to cater for the people of Mwenezi during the Mwenezi East by-election campaign in April this year.
Midlands State University (MSU) Media and Society lecturer Dr Zvenyika Mugari urged publishers to think outside the box.
"You need to be innovative and think outside the box. At the moment you need to see how best you can promote your sales in this cashless society," said Dr Mugari.
A staffer with ZMC, Academy Chinamhora reminded publishers of the obligations of the mass media services in Zimbabwe.local