Long under pressure from the Harare government, Zimbabwe's independent media will have recourse to an officially sanctioned self-regulatory body after January 26, the date set for the launch of the Media Council of Zimbabwe.
The 11 members of the Media Council will be elected shortly before the launch, and five members of an ethics panel will also be selected.
It remains to be seen how much power Harare is willing to devolve to the new council. But the Ministry of Information was involved in talks to establish the body, which was brought forth through the efforts of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Media Institute of Southern Africa, or MISA.
Reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe spoke with Jonathan Maphenduka, a nominee to the council and a veteran journalist who resigned earlier this year from the Media and Information Commission, a governmental body that has pressured independent journalists and opposed creation of the Media Council.