Masvingo Senator bemoans arrest of journalists

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Masvingo Senator Misheck Marava has described Zimbabwe’s media industry as a minefield with several lawsuits hanging over journalists’ heads.

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT

Addressing journalists at the belated World Press Freedom Day commemorations in Masvingo on Saturday, Marava said media freedom remained a pipe dream 35 years after independence.

“Commemorating this day without Itai Dzamara (missing activist) is a nullity. We don’t know where he is, whether he is still alive. Also his family misses him,” Marava said.

“This affects you as a family united by a common goal which is reporting.

“Thank you for good reporting over the years despite the challenges you are still facing.”

Marava said there was no need for journalists to be arrested when executing their duties since they enabled the flow of information.

“You are the bridge between the State and the people,” he said.

“You are there to tell us what the people are saying and tell them what we would be saying, so there is no point for you to be arrested when exercising your duty.”

Media Institute of Southern Africa-Zimbabwe Masvingo provincial chairperson Golden Maunganidze expressed dismay over the government’s delay in realigning media laws with the new Constitution.

He said free journalistic enterprise, safety and professionalism could not thrive in the presence of restrictive laws.

“We note with great concern that close to two years after the coming into being of the 2013 Constitution, Zimbabwe is still to align several of its restrictive media laws with the country’s supreme law,” he said.

“Free journalistic enterprise, journalism safety and professionalism cannot thrive in an environment chocking with a raft of repressive media laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Broadcasting Services Act, Interception of Communications Act, Official Secrets Act and Criminal Defamation, among others.’’