The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has put in place new media accreditation categories increasing the number to six from the previous two considering concerns of the Media industry.
Over the past years press cards had become an instrument of attending events and gave birth to ghost writers and so forth.
This move is meant do away with the abuse of press cards , Journalism profession and tanishing ZMCs image.
The new categorisation will therefore deal with abuse where everyone in possession of an accreditation card would be entitled as a reporter and had access to certain events and functions.
In a letter addressed to the Zimbabwe Republic Policy ZMC said , ” in the past the commission used to issue only two types of accreditation cards that is, one for local journalists and the other for foreign journalists.’
” Taking the concerns of the industry into consideration and the rapid growth of the digital media, the Commission has decided to issue separate accreditation cards for categories of media practitioners.”
“The new six categories include Journalists working for mainstream media registered or licenced by the ZMC and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) respectively; Foreign media personnel cleared by the Government through the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services;Online media practitioners running online news channels;Content producers who produce various media products for online distribution; Photographers; and Media practitioners in the film sector.”
However this move has been received with mixed opions and its impact towards the profession.
On a twitter post Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) expressed great concerns on the categorisation drawing a line between online and mainstream media which might not work in the favour of online content creators.
” we are greatly concerned about the delibarate move to separate online content creators from mainstream journalists while they also publish online we fear this maybe used to disadvantage us.”
The media industry has been on transition were quite a number of online content creators emerged giving diversified dissemination of news and information in the country.
Separating the two might create a scenario were holders of certain press categories are prioritized more than the other.
” We are in the digital era of journalism ,where one can be a photographer , content producer, print journalist and so forth most journalists have turned be versatile and adapt to the changes separating like that can bring confusion and hinderance to conduct our day to day operations,” said a certain journalist.
ZMC has however not made it clear on wether one should possess more than one press card if they fit in the different categories.
Commenting on the move Young Journalist Association (YOJA) president ,Mlondolozi Ndlovu said ,”The new accreditation method can weed our ghost writers and pseudo journalists who have been hiding behind the tag freelance journalists. “
“. With the evolving nature of journalism and the rise of fake news it is good that journalists are associated with particular newsrooms or online sites. “
He added that , however, we urge the authorities not to be harsh on content producers and online media houses because they are the new normal in the digital era.
Meanwhile accreditation is to commence on the 26th of May.