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All Set For The 2021 Annual Media Stakeholders Conference

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All is set for the annual 2021 media stakeholders conference which will see the convergence of key media players in Zimbabwe coming together to drive way forward for the upcoming year.The event will be held tomorrow at a local hotel in the capital city of Harare.

The key members under Media Alliance of Zimbabwe include an alliance of media support organisations which are, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe chapter), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (ZINEF), Gender and Media Connect (GMC), the Media Centre, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the African Community Publishing Development Trust (ACPDT).

 

Also to attend the event are personalities including from government, state media, non-state private media houses, newspaper journalists, bloggers and electronic media.Based on the context and obtaining media environment, this year’s conference will run under the theme “Unpacking the national media question in the midst of shrinking democratic
space”. This theme is informed by the threats to media freedom in the Covid 19 era. The
main thrust of the conference would be to review knowledge products that are going to be developed prior the engagements and strategic review thereof of the advocacy framework for
the media.

 

The stakeholders’ conference is an engagement
platform between state and non-state actors to robustly test media policy and practice against the principles of a free media.One critical objective of the conference is to provide thought leadership around media development issues to set the agenda for the intervention priorities for the media
stakeholders.

 

The 2021 conference is being convened in a period in which the media is confronted with a myriad of challenges more so in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
These challenges range from an unsafe working environment, repressive legal framework,
sustainability and concerns that have emerged around the professional conduct of the media.

 

The recently enacted Data Protection Act has provisions with a chilling effect on the exercise
of the right to freedom of expression.Government is also proposing enacting legislation that will regulate citizens association with
the international community, in proposed amendments to the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform Act).

All these read together with the consolidation of power by the Executive through wholesale
amendments to the Constitution, signifies shrinking democratic space.

With elections looming in 2023, there is need to unpack the national question on what would
be priority interventions for the media in Zimbabwe.

Previous sessions looked at “Reviewing the Media Laws reform process: Lessons and way forward”.

The Host is expected to lead the charge on Media Freedom following the onslaught on journalism which has been criminalized by the state in some situations eg the illegal arrest, detention and release without charge of 14 Journalists at Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) provincial offices this year as well as the much publicized persecution of award winning journalist Hopewell Chin’ono who spent months at Chikurubi maximum prison.

One other concern Media Alliance of Zimbabwe may address at the stakeholders conference is the disappearance of Journalist Itai Dzamara who is still missing five years on.

To get in contact with MAZ details are Harare, Zimbabwe Tel: 04-741816/ 0772 501 557, Email:
media.alliance.zimbabwe@gmail.com

ross moyo

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