Sydney Kawadza Senior Features Writer
Home Affairs Minister Ignatius Chombo yesterday announced a new Board of Censors that faces the colossal task of regulating public entertainment in the digital age. The appointment was in terms of the Censorship and Entertainment Control Act Chapter 10: 4. Former Cabinet minister, educationist and historian Cde Aeneas Chigwedere will chair the board and will be deputised by Mrs Konzani Ncube.
Other members are Police Senior Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, Mrs Bona Chikore, Mrs Runyararo Magadzire, Chief Nyamukoho Samson Katsande, Mr Regis Chikowore, Mr Shingai Rukwata Ndoro, Mr Chenjerai Daitai, Mr Tungamirai Muganhiri and Catholic priest Father Fidelis Mukonori.
The board is tasked with playing a critical role in controlling and regulating the media and film industry and examining any article or public entertainment submitted to it.
Minister Chombo told journalists after the announcement that the board, which would serve for five years instead of the previous three, had been entrusted with safeguarding people’s rights and trust.
“Our current Act limits the tenure of the term of the board to three years, it is the wish of His Excellency (President Mugabe) that we change that and that this board will serve for a period of five years so that they are able to really craft issues and implement them,” he said.
“Three years is a little bit too short for cultural issues and related matters.”
Minister Chombo said the prohibition of public entertainment, which may have the potential to undermine morality, public order, peace, nudity and indelicate sexual situations, was the board’s responsibility.
“It is a well-known fact that the Constitution of Zimbabwe has a provision for freedom of artistic expression, cultural beliefs and association,” he said.
“However, the same Constitution through the Act of Parliament empowers the Board of Censors to ensure that these freedoms are reasonably limited so that they do not infringe on other people’s rights.
“In today’s environment where there is heightened scrutiny by members of the public, Internet and social media use, you are going to be faced by many challenges in administering the Act.”