Zvamaida Murwira in Mutare
AT least 85 media organisations have been registered by the Zimbabwe Media Commission since its formation in 2009, as part of efforts to enhance access to information by Zimbabweans, ZMC Commissioner Chris Mhike has said.He said the approach taken by the commission was to allow all those who applied for a licence as long as they met the requirements of the enabling legal statute, Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Mr Mhike said this while addressing journalists and other media stakeholders attending a consultative workshop on Media Law and Policy in Zimbabwe organised by Misa Zimbabwe.
“We have not denied any application by and large. We have registered more than 85 media organisations. We have only declined registration for two applicants,” he said.
One application ZMC declined registration was a company whose majority shareholding was foreign, something that was not consistent with the law, said Mr Mhike. Another applicant was a community radio firm which they felt could best be dealt with by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
ZMC, said Mr Mhike, was keen to meet Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo to explain to him their challenges, the major one being funding.
“We have made a request as ZMC to have a meeting with the minister,” he said.
“We have concerns. We have been unable to meet some constitutional obligations because of lack of funds.”
The Commission, he said, failed to constitute some meetings owing to absence of adequate funds.
“Then there is the legislation framework. We want him (Prof Moyo) to see areas of the law which we feel need to be re-visited,” said Mr Mhike.
Mr Mhike said there were legal provisions both under AIPPA and the Broadcasting Services Act which, as a commission, they could share with Prof Moyo with a view to having them re-visited. Other issues, he said, emanated from concerns by media practitioners and media houses. Mr Mhike commended Prof Moyo for visiting media houses, saying that went a long way for him to appreciate what goes on in individual media houses.
“I think that is positive and progressive,” he said.
Prof Moyo has visited a number of media houses including Zimpapers, Alpha Media Holdings, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, The Financial Gazette, StarFM, ZiFM and Reuters.