Zim’s New Media Reform Body Begins Work

2010-03-19 11:09

A new commission meant to reform Zimbabwe’s repressive media laws

has begun its work – three months after its members were appointed, the body

said today.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) held its inaugural meeting in

Harare yesterday, as South African President Jacob Zuma was wrapping up talks

with the feuding leaders of a fragile unity government.

“The commission has resolved to expeditiously fulfil its mandate”

under the power-sharing accord, the body said in a statement.

“The ZMC will do everything in its power to meet the expectations

of the nation and stakeholders. It has resolved to move with speed to introduce

and implement programmes aimed at promoting development of the Zimbabwean


The new commission replaces a body appointed in 2002, when veteran

President Robert Mugabe’s government introduced stringent media laws that

resulted in the expulsion of foreign journalists and the closure of a popular

newspaper renowned for its anti-government stance.

Under the unity deal that brought Mugabe together with his

erstwhile rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister in February last year, the

government is meant to commit to greater media freedom.

In a sign of easing media restrictions, Mugabe earlier this month

held a meet-the-media briefing with journalists based in Harare.

Greater media freedom is one of the key demands of western donors,

who are insisting on political reforms before committing to major new aid to the

unity government.

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