Zimbabwe needs an independent media that does not take direction from ay corner because media independence is the cornerstone of democracy, Chegutu East Member of Parliament Webster Shamu told Parliament yesterday.
Seconding a motion on World Press Freedom Day, Shamu, a former Information Minister, said donors should not shape the agenda for the media.
“The powers of donor and donor funded NGOs over African media associations and even trade unions are a cause for concern. Our media should carry an agenda of our own philosophy and development trajectory,” he said.
“We decry a media whose agenda is shaped by donors and other agencies. Our media should speak to our own issues as we see them. An independent media does not take direction from any corner. This independence is what the media and the declaration are all about. Media independence is the cornerstone of democracy.”
Shamu said silence kills democracy and this destroys society.
“Zimbabwe needs a free press to speak up and sustain our democracy and society. Freedom of the press is not just important to democracy; it is that which shapes our democracy.”
To emphasize his point Shamu quoted paragraphs 2 and 3 of the Windhoek Declaration which speaks of a free, independent and pluralistic press in Africa.
Paragraph 2 says: “By an independent press we mean a press independent from Government, political or economic control, or from control of materials and infrastructure essential for the production and dissemination of newspapers, magazines and periodicals”.
Paragraph 3 reads: “By a pluralistic press we mean the end of monopolies of any kind and the existence of the greatest possible number of newspapers, magazines and periodicals reflecting the widest possible range of opinion within the community”.
HON. SHAMU: Thank you Madam Speaker for granting me this opportunity to second Hon. Mokone in a debate that centres around World Press Freedom Day. As I expressed my appreciation, let me take this opportunity to thank the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Senator Monica Mutsvangwa for a job well done for all the work that has been completed towards media reform, is indeed plausible. One would want to hope that the same spirit of unity of purpose amongst all media stakeholders will propel us to greater heights.
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