The scheduled launch Thursday of the Media Council of Zimbabwe failed to take place as its organizers stepped back to address issues raised at its first public meeting having to do with its own constitution and its role in adjudicating ethics complaints.
The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Media Institute of Southern African agreed to defer the launch after questions emerged as to the council’s arbitration process. Thursday's meeting was meant to see the selection of 11 members and the establishment of a complaints committee.
Meanwhile there was some uncertainty as to whether the government, which gave its approval to the creation of the council, would move to circumscribe its role.
Some were disconcerted by a warning from Leo Mugabe, the president’s nephew and a member of the parliamentary committee on communications, that the council should not encroach on the responsibilities of the Media and Information Commission headed by chairman Tafataona Mahoso, who opposed creation of the media council.
But advocacy coordinator Abel Chikomo of the Media Monitoring Project told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe, that although the launch did not go as planned the discussion was likely to result in a stronger organization.