Yeukai Karengezeka Herald Correspondent
The media fraternity has welcomed manoeuvres by Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa in eradicating sex pests in newsrooms. Minister Mutsvangwa articulated the reforms during an interview with The Herald on International Women’s Day last week.
She said the reforms will be aimed at observing the rights of women at the workplace and eradicating sexual abuse in the newsrooms especially on interns being the top priority.
She added that she would want to meet with deans at universities and colleges in order to hammer the point home that abuse will be not tolerated even at learning institutions.
Organisations that spoke to The Herald concurred with Minister Mutsvangwa’s remarks saying there is need for a policy to be put in place.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) national president Mr Michael Chideme said the ministry’s plans complement their efforts.
“What the minister said is a move in the right direction. This will complement our campaigns against abuse of women in the newsrooms that we have doing for a decade,” he said.
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director Mr Loughty Dube said the ministry should come up with national policy against sexual harassment at the workplace.
“This is a positive statement and I sincerely hope that her statement will be heeded. They should come up with a national gender policy that will protect both males and females from abuse at all workplaces.
“It will now mean that our media policy would be derived from that national policy. It should not end with just policies, but they should be capacitated so that it can be implemented effectively,” he said.
A commissioner with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission and dean for the Herbert Chitepo Law School at Great Zimbabwe University, Mr Victor Nkiwane, said it was crucial that Government legally makes sexual harassment an offence.
“We talk of sexual harassment every time, but legally there is no law that states that is an offence.
“Responsible authorities should act on this and we should take notes from our neighbouring country, South Africa, who have put laws in place against issues of abuse of women at the workplaces,” he said.