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» » Media reforms in election season spotlighted

…as Masvingo celebrates World Press Freedom Day

Tiyani Hahlani

– The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa Zimbabwe), Masvingo chapter last Saturday organised a gathering of media practitioners and other stakeholders at Charles Austin Theatre to celebrate the 2018 World Press Freedom Day.
Celebrations this year were held under the theme, 'Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and the Rule of Law'.
Among many other objectives, the event was meant to remind government the need for media reforms ahead of this year's general elections in line with the theme 'Media Reforms Now: Free and Accountable Media Key to Credible Elections'.
Speaking at the gathering, Masvingo Urban Ward 4 councillor, attacked the continued existence of such undemocratic pieces of legislation as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Official Secrets Act (OSA) and Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) in the country's statute books.
"As we head towards elections, there must be a visible commitment on the part of government to ensure the safety of journalists, the independence of the public media as well as a secure working environment for journalists. 
Kurauone encouraged journalists to always question decisions that are taken by council and to request for council minutes as a way of improving accountability and access to information.
"I am a councillor and I acknowledge the importance of media in advancing service delivery. I urge journalists to keep asking questions on the decisions we make," Kurauone said.
He also criticised government for always talking about free, fair and credible elections when there are is no perceivable political will to effect fundamental media reforms.
"As stakeholders, we condemn violations of journalist rights for example the brutalisation of Daily News reporter Tafirenyika Mugove at the hands of riot police in Harare last year and also the arrest of the NewsDay reporter Kenneth Nyangani for writing a true story that former first lady Grace Mugabe had donated second hand under garments in Manicaland," said Kurauone.
Other people who spoke at the gathering include Misa Masvingo chairperson, Passmore Kuzipa and Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) Press Club chairperson, Leroy Dzenga.
After the solidarity speeches, the event moved to Masvingo Showgrounds were a friendly soccer match was played between local practicing journalists and GZU media students.local

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