Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo yesterday launched a 25-member panel to inquire and assess the operations of Zimbabwe’s media industry. The panel, chaired by veteran journalist Geoff Nyarota, comprises several senior journalists and experts from other professions.
As part of its mandate, the panel will look into various challenges affecting media operations and identify opportunities and prospects for the industry. Establishment of the panel follows Porf Moyo’s familiriasation tours of media houses in October.
Prof Moyo said subsequent to his tours, it was important to come up with a preliminary report of what needed to be done.
“It was necessary to end the year with a kind of preliminary outcome to touch base to say what is the outcome of the exercise thus far and what needs to be done going forward,” he said.
“Out of those visits we have been able to reach a preliminary conclusion. One gap we have not been able to fill through our visits is that we were unable to visit the various schools or programmes or departments or universities that teach disciplines which in one way or another affect the media and information sector.
“This is a major issue we intend to do ourselves next year starting from January when everyone comes back from the (festive season) break.
“It was clear during our visits that a major challenge we need to understand has to do with the training of media practitioners.”
He said through a visit to the National University of Science and Technology, it became apparent that training institutions were largely concerned with making money from students instead of offering quality and relevant services.
Prof Moyo said some of the students coming from these institutions were half-baked and media houses were dedicating much time to re-training them.
Outlining the terms of references of the panel, Information, Media and Broadcasting Servicers Deputy Minister Supa Mandiwanzira said the panel would inquire into and gauge the level of investment in the sector; and to assess the state, scope, arrangements and efficiencies of the information industry, including attendant constraints and shortcomings.
“Terms of references will include to . . . inquire into the values, ethics and standards of the media sector, to assess current compliance and mechanisms of compliance enforcement, to gauge the adequacy of protection of media freedoms and other freedoms guaranteed in the constitution,” he added.