Though the independent Media Council of Zimbabwe failed to launch on schedule last week, the journalists and media advocates behind the organization, which received a green light from government officials, say they intend to get it off the ground.
Organizers put off the formal launch - which was to include the election of a board of directors and an ethics disciplinary panel - because of flaws that were detected at the last minute in the organization’s constitution. But some in Zimbabwe's media think the delay has something to do with a sudden ambiguity in the government’s position.
Some interpreted comments by Leo Mugabe, chairman of the house committee on communications as council not to usurp the prerogatives of the Media and Information Commission. That state body was a prime mover in the 2003 closure of the Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, which were critical of the government.
Reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of VOA's Studio 7 For Zimbabwe sought clarification from media experts Bill Saidi, acting editor of the Standard newspaper, and Rashweat Mukundu, director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe.