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Zimbabwe Media Commission Supports Panel Secretariat Amid Media Council Backlash

  • Tatenda Gumbo

Critics say the proposed Media Council looks to them like another attempt by Mahoso to check press freedom and maintain restrictions that should have been abandoned under the current reform process

Members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission have come out in support of ZMC Chief Executive Tafataona Mahoso, who has come under fire from press advocates who say a proposal for a Media Council to monitor practitioners reflects his style of governance when he was chairman of the predecessor Media and Information Commission.

Media Commission Chairman Godfrey Majonga told reporters late last week that Mahoso has performed well in his current position as secretariat head.

But critics say the proposed Media Council looks to them like another attempt by Mahoso to check press freedom and maintain restrictions that should have been abandoned under the reform process launched under the 2008 Global Political Agreement.

Mahoso as MIC chief shut down the independent Daily News, since resurrected.

The mooted Media council would operate under the the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which press rights advocates say should be repealed.

Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe Coordinator Andrew Moyse told reporter Tatenda Gumbo that most observers assume Mahoso will stay in place – but in the meantime will watch closely to see how his role in the reconstituted commission evolved.

Moyse said that under the proposed Media Council, it is assumed Mahoso as head of the commission's secretariat would hand down disciplinary measures once members of the council have reviewed cases involving journalists and media houses

Njabulo Ncube, chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe, said practitioners should take aim at the proposed Media Council instead of Mahoso.

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