Tsvangirai blasts Shamu

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has expressed disappointment at the Information Ministry’s failure to ensure a repeal of laws that curtail media freedom.

Tsvangirai
Tsvangirai

Speaking at a ceremony organized by the Media Institute of Southern Africa- Zimbabwe Chapter to mark World Press Freedom, Tsvangirai said three years after the signing of the GPA, media freedom remains a ‘scarce commodity’

“The responsible Ministry has chosen not to make the pubic media reflect the new inclusive dispensation and to provide a platform for divergent views in line with the dictates of the GPA,” said Tsvangirai.

Article 19 of the September 2008 GPA, which deals with Freedom of Information and Communication, calls for government to ensure the opening up of airwaves, facilitation of media plurality, and the repeal of repressive media laws.

Tsvangirai accused Information Minister Webster Shamu of continuing to ignore cabinet directives on media reforms.

Shamu was tasked by the GPA Principals to reconstitute the boards of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, the state owned and sole broadcaster, ZBC and the Mass Media Trust two years ago.

Instead, he controversially appointed a board at BAZ, led by media hangman and ZANU (PF) sympathiser Tafataona Mahoso.

Recently, BAZ awarded two commercial radio licences to companies perceived to be aligned Zanu (PF), one of them an initiative of state is yet to be reconstituted.

Said Tsvangirai, “We have a Ministry that spends more time thinking about how it should curtail information rather than how it should disseminate it.”

“That is why the granting of licences to Zanu (PF) aligned radio stations such as Zimpapers Talk Radio and AB Communications does not in any way reflect pluralisation…It is a case of old wine in newbottles, there is no plurality,” said Tsvangirai.

More than a thousand people who include cabinet ministers, journalists, civic society representatives, and community members graced the occasion.

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