Moyo charms journalists

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INFORMATION minister Jonathan Moyo’s call for the repeal of defamation laws was yesterday welcomed as progressive by media organisations who said it would herald a new chapter for journalism in Zimbabwe.

Njabulo Ncube
Deputy Editor

Moyo told State media on Sunday that the new Zanu PF government would soon strike off criminal defamation from the country’s statute books so as to align the law with the Constitution.

The new Constitution guarantees freedom of expression and the media.

But there have been concerns the government could use defamation laws to take away freedoms granted the media and journalism profession in the new supreme law.

Foster Dongozi, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, said although it was too early to celebrate, Moyo’s efforts since he returned to the ministry were encouraging.

“We welcome suggestions by Moyo to remove criminal defamation,” he said.

“We wait with anticipation for the day when that will be done because this particular piece of legislation has brought a lot of anguish in the fraternity.

“We really applaud this latest development given other efforts which have been done by Moyo and his team in the ministry to engage stakeholders in order to appreciate problems bedevilling it.”

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe official Loughty Dube applauded Moyo for identifying the defamation laws as a major hindrance in the practice of journalism in Zimbabwe.

“However, we hope the alignment of the laws with the Constitution will be extended to other laws that are ultra vitres the Constitution,” he said.

“Laws such as Aippa (Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) and Posa (Public Order and Security Act) should be revisited while provisions are also put in place to realign laws to allow media in Zimbabwe to self-regulate.”

Brian Mangwende, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Editor’s Forum, said Moyo’s remarks indicated he had learnt a lot from his engagement efforts with stakeholders from both public and private media.

“He has smelt the coffee, but wait for the swift implementation of his proposal to repeal defamation,” he said.

“We welcome his suggestion and hope for a better future for the media in this country.”

Several journalists have been arrested for allegedly defaming senior government officials leading to calls to scrap the law as it was being abused by the powerful.

1 COMMENT

  1. I DO NOT TRUST JONATHAN MORE AND ROBERT MUGABE, NOT EVEN IN A THOUSAND YEARS.POOR JOURNALISTS AND ZIMBABWEANS SO EASILY DECEIVED. HOW DO YOU TRUST SOMEONE WHO COMES TO YOU AGREEING WITH YOU BUT DOES NOT REPENT OR TELL YOU WHY HE DID WHAT HE DID EARLIER. THINK ABOUT.

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