The Zimbabwe Media Commission yesterday launched a media council that will regulate the conduct of journalists. The commission appointed 13 councillors to the Zimbabwe Media Council who include Zimpapers chief executive officer Mr Justin Mutasa and Mr Happison Muchechetere, who is the chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings.
Veteran journalist Henry Muradzikwa chairs the council.
Other members of the council include Mr Major Tikiwa, Ms Veronica Dingi, Mr Ben Madzimure and Mr Tryson Mudariki.
The council would debate complaints and other issues raised against journalists.
Speaking at the launch of the council, ZMC chairman Mr Godfrey Majonga said media stakeholders had called for the inclusion of specific clauses that guaranteed freedom of expression and access to information in the new Constitution.
He said media stakeholders indicated that they would only support a Freedom of Information Act that provided easy access to information held by public bodies with clearly but narrowly defined limitations subject to appeals by independent bodies.
"Regarding the constitution-making process, the industry feels that the Constitution needed to explicitly guarantee freedom of expression, including clear and specific clauses on media freedom, access to public information, academic freedom and artistic creativity," said Mr Majonga.
"Stakeholders urged the Government to urgently repeal laws affecting media freedom."
Mr Majonga said the appointment of the councillors was made after wide consultations with media stakeholders.
He said the council, working together with ZMC, had to come up with a code of conduct and ethics for the media profession.
Mr Muradzikwa said they would work to ensure that there was no acrimony between the state and private media.
"There is a dichotomy between the state and private media. We must play our part not to perpetuate that division," he said.
"I want councillors to avoid taking sides between the private and state media."
Mr Muradzikwa said the council would have an independent secretariat and chief executive officer from the commission.
He said there was a need for harmony and professionalism in the media industry.