MEDIA, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo yesterday made a passionate plea to turn a new leaf and bring an end the polarisation that has characterised the industry for over a decade.
Speaking at a meeting with management at Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), publishers of NewsDay, Zimbabwe Independent, Southern Eye and The Standard, Moyo appreciated the litany of concerns raised, but said it was time to let by-gones be by-gones.
“Polarisation hasn’t been in anyone’s interest, yourselves, ourselves and business,” he said.
“Of course, when we engage it does not mean we will agree on everything.
“However, at the end of the day, we should be able to agree on certain aspects and in that process, find each other.”
In a teleconference from South Africa, AMH chairman Trevor Ncube hailed Moyo’s initiative saying it was time for all Zimbabweans to embrace each other and chart the way forward.
“We really appreciate your endeavour to engage us,” he said.
“We look forward to a good working relationship with you honourable minister, deputy minister (Supa Mandiwanzira) and (permanent secretary) George Charamba,” he said.
AMH group chief executive officer Raphael Khumalo brought to the minister’s attention numerous obstacles faced by the private media in particular, chief among them inaccessibility of government officials, hustles in getting newsprint and spare parts as well as hardships in accessing advertisements due to political reasons.
“Access to government officials has been a real nightmare,” he said. “It’s hardships which our journalists face every day.”
Vincent Kahiya, AMH group editor-in-chief expressed similar concerns saying a fortnight ago NewsDay could not obtain statistics on homicide after police accused the paper of trying to tarnish their image. AMH company secretary Nqobile Ndlovu appealed to Moyo to push for the realignment of media laws and repeal of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
Moyo agreed with most of the concerns raised and admitted that Aippa had not been beneficial.
Moyo, who was accompanied by Mandiwanzira, Charamba and director of urban communications in the ministry, Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi toured all AMH newsrooms, meeting journalists and other staff members before meeting the company management.