Media a vehicle for development: Minister
Wallace Ruzvidzo-Herald Reporter
THE media is a vehicle for national development and should generate quality content that educates the world on Zimbabwe’s values, culture, history and the ensuing economic growth and development spearheaded by the Second Republic, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Dr Jenfan Muswere, said yesterday.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Chief Director in his Ministry, Mr Jonathan Gandari, during a ZBC strategic planning and review workshop in Mutare, Dr Muswere said Zimbabwe has in recent years been on an overdrive to promote itself as a safe investment and tourism destination of choice, something which the media should also take part in.
He said the media had an instrumental role to play in the country’s attainment of Vision 2030 ahead of schedule.
“We need more Zimbabwean centred content if we are to educate the world about our values, our culture and our history, as well as preserve them for our own communities.
“As you are aware our country’s international engagement and re-engagement drive is reaping benefits since relations with former adversaries are thawing following positive publicity of the country by the media.
“This is a testimony that the media is a vehicle for development and it should also bring people together especially now as we march towards attaining an upper middle-income society by 2030.
“This strategic planning workshop is critical for the national broadcaster which is mandated to build the country’s image as espoused in the National Development Strategy 1”.
Dr Muswere charged ZBC, which is Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster, to produce quality content while also adapting to the ever-evolving technology and digital spaces.
“To do this in today’s competitive world, the ZBC needs to create strong radios, television, internet and mobile platform services brands. The question is what is our content distribution strategy?
“Are we packaging for the 14 inch box only or we are packaging for mobile handsets as well with all its affordances like YouTube, Twitter, Tik Tok etc? There is a need to distribute our content in the fields of culture, education and entertainment. In addition, as a public broadcaster the ZBC is also responsible for providing the nation with real time reliable news service,” he said.
Dr Muswere said the establishment of a positive national identity and maintenance of the ZBC’s status as the “go to source” of news were an important aspect of instigating national discourse.
“To maintain your status as the ‘go to source’ of news you will require to go beyond the ordinary and assesses and analyse information before going on air. It will also require that you package and repackage content in a manner that will stimulate discussions.
“Your content should also ensure the establishment of a positive national identity. As a corporation, ZBC has to entrench a culture of continuous and lifelong training for its staff.
“I call upon management to develop and implement appropriate strategies, forge partnerships, harness technology, produce compelling content, improve compliance for licensing, and prioritise the welfare of our employees.”
“Together, we can ensure that our national broadcaster remains a beacon of excellence, providing informative, engaging, and inclusive broadcasting services to our nation, leaving no one and no place behind,” he said.
Dr Muswere emphasised the importance of ethics and fact checking.
“It is not a secret that the ZBC has a major role to play towards Vision 2030 now 2027. You are expected to help the economy grow by creating confidence in the market.
“You are expected do this through the dissemination of accurate knowledge that will form the key foundation for investment decisions. For Zimbabwe to grow its economy there is a need for a strong and responsible public media.
“In this regard, as a public broadcaster you are expected to present programming that will provide opportunities to open debates on what can be done and what can be rectified,” said Dr Muswere.
The Minister denounced all forms of sexual harassment in the workplace, saying perpetrators would be dealt with decisively.
“Sexual harassment can occur in non-verbal forms such as indecent exposure, unwelcome gestures, unwelcome display of sexually explicit objects or pictures and videos.
“Sexual harassment can also take verbal forms, which may include, but are not limited to comments about a person’s body, enquiries about a person’s sex life, sexual advances, sex related jokes or comments with sexual overtones.
“At the corporation, sexual harassment has been linked to opportunities for training and travel, promotion or offers of salary increments, and in general other employee benefits, in exchange for sexual favours,” he said.
It was also important for the ZBC to ensure gender mainstreaming. “The Zimbabwe Constitution of 2013 upholds gender equality as one of its principles. As a result, gender mainstreaming is embedded in Government policy as a critical strategy for the promotion of gender equality and women empowerment across all sectors,” Dr Muswere said.