Zimbabwe yesterday joined the world in commemorating world press freedom day amid indications of increased victimization of media practitioners across the globe.
The celebrations were held under the theme Critical Minds for Critical times: The medias role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive Zimbabwe.
Officiating at the celebration ceremony at Harare Polytechnic, Media and Information minister Chris Mushowe emphasised the need for media practitioners to be respected and allowed to carry their duties freely without fear of being harassed.
By David Zvina
There is need for media both online and offline to be respected. Media progress and development enhances freedom of expression and it contributes to peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and upholding of human rights.
Amongst the dignitaries were Dr afataona Mahoso, Ibho Mandaza and Pedzisai Ruhanya who took turns to debate and deliberate on issues affecting the media industry.
This year’s commemorations come at a time when the media in Zimbabwe has various questions regards internet/digital freedom especially that now the Zimbabwean parliament is debating on the cyber bills that are set to be introduced soon.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) urged the government to ensure the proposed cybercrime laws did not erode constitutional rights to free expression online and offline.
MISA Zimbabwe theme for this year’s event was, ‘In defence of digital rights’ and this has largely been driven by the so called cyber and computer crime bill.
This year’s commemorations come at a time when the media has a duty to build a country that has been torn by corruption and is in need of peace building ethics that can help provide a platform for redemption of all sectors of this country.
Zimbabwe online content creators (ZOCC) President who is also the CEO of TechnoMg, Mr Tonderai Tineo Rutsito advocated that it was time to address media sustainability issues.
“We are in an era where we need to take a leap forward in creating an enabling environment for journalism to thrive here in our mother land Zimbabwe. It is also time to ensure that Zimbabwean citizens are safe both online and offline and that digital rights are defended.