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Recently Created Zimbabwe Media Commission to Lead Sector Reform

Zimbabwean Deputy Information Minister Jameson Timba said Tuesday that the government, having promised to reform and liberalize the long-controlled and often oppressed media, will shortly seat the Zimbabwe Media Commission and set it to work accepting applications from those who would like to launch independent publications and broadcast outlets.

The Media Commission was authorized under the same constitutional amendment passed in February to enable formation of the national unity government by providing for the office of prime minister, now held by Morgan Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change.

Timba told VOA that the members of the Media Commission's will be appointed in the next month, and then the commission will start to accept applications from media organizations wishing to launch new print publications or broadcasting companies.

He said the commission will oversee media registration and the authorization of foreign media players in consultation with sector stakeholders to restore freedom of the press.

But Chairman Loughty Dube of the Media institute of Southern Africa in Zimbabwe told VOA's Chris Gande that while his organization would welcome any opening-up for media it is skeptical that such pledges will soon translate into action on the ground.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...