Meanwhile, the law reforms have since seen the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act. In October this year, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill sailed through the House of Assembly, on its way to the Senate.
On the broadcasting front, interviews were conducted by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), following submission of applications for the country’s first-ever commercial television stations.
In that regard, on 20 November 2020, BAZ announced that it had awarded six television licences following public interviews held in October 2020, to the following stations:
1. Acacia Media Group
2. Channel Dzimbahwe
3. Fairtalk Communications
4. Jester Media
5. Rusununguko Media
6. Zimbabwe Newspapers trading as ZTN
BAZ has also since called for applications for community radio stations.
In its way forward, the report notes, among other issues, lack of independence of the public broadcaster (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation), poor media salaries and working conditions, declining journalism standards, media sustainability, especially for the print media, as some of the areas requiring attention.
Despite threats to clampdown on social media platforms, the report says, digital media, was assisting “under-represented” communities to tell their own stories. It further notes the government’s increased commitment to move ahead with much-needed law reforms, as a positive development.
There is also a need to reinvigorate discussions on the establishment of an Employment Council for journalists, invest in training for journalists while also improving collaborations between media houses and training institutions.
Source: Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe