The Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa on Wednesday expressed its opposition to statutory regulation of the media, saying the Zimbabwe Media Commission in the process of being constituted should eventually give way to a self-regulatory system.
A MISA statement said the process to select eight media commissioners won’t prevent the House Standing Rules and Orders Committee from nominating commissioners along partisan lines. President Robert Mugabe will appoint the commissioners from a short list.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission replaces the Media and Information Commission which was responsible for enforcing the notorious Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and closed the Daily News in 2003, among other repressive actions.
MISA Zimbabwe Director Takura Zhangazha told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that if the government empanels the commission it must be viewed as an interim measure simply to ensure greater diversity of media players in the country.
But Masvingo Urban Member Tongai Matutu, chairman of the House Legal and Procedural Committee, a sub-committee of the Standing Rules and Orders Committee, said the panel was merely adhering to Constitutional Amendment 19 in nominating commissioners.