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Deputy Information minister Mathuthu says everyone is allowed to use the public media





As the public Broadcaster ZBC has continuously been blasted by the opposition political parties for being a mouth piece of the ruling Zanu PF,

Deputy Minister of Information Media and Broadcasting Services Thokozile Mathuthu has said the public media can be used by everyone in the country to communicate a message.

"In media, there is no policy which prevents anybody from speaking to the media on any issues except if they have been vetted by the system which

will not allow scandalous issues to be publicised or spoken about. There is no policy really but the editors are supposed to ensure that whatever is

put on print or electronic media is decent for the population of Zimbabwe so that even the children who watch television and those who have access to our newspaper can consume that product without getting polluted in their minds," she said.

"Although we encourage freedom of speech in this nation, we would encourage that the media, that is print and electronic would concentrate issues which are developmental more than issues which destroy the nation."

But MDC-T Vice President Nelson Chamisa asked if it was possible for Government to put a law that enforces the media to report on development

when there is no development.

"The other thing that is important is that on our radio stations, there are programmes with a lot of sexual content which are being aired. I have names

of radio stations which are airing such programmes. Are you aware of such programmes because they are polluting the younger generation. Some children stay up late with radios in their bedrooms wanting to listen to such programmes. Are you in the process of removing such content?" he asked.

Mathuthu said "I was trying to follow what the Hon. Member was saying because I am not very articulate in Shona. I think I understood and if I

did not, he will correct me. Allow me to talk in English. We have the Censorship Board in Zimbabwe which deals with issues which are scandalous

to some extent. Yes, we have freedom of expression but your freedom of expression should not encroach on other people's freedoms."

She said Chamisa mentioned that some radio stations are publicising obscenities.

"It is unfortunate and I wish I had an opportunity to get which programmes are obscene and I would be pleased if the Hon. Member can favour me with

that information. I know that there are some programmes which deal with relationships in homes like the one the Hon. Member is mentioning. What I

was getting at is that the purpose of such programmes is to try and build homes," Mathuthu said.

"Some controversies at homes comes about because of the issues to do with those things - because this is an Honourable House I do not want to touch on sensitive issues which I will be charged on.  However, I want to assume that it is to try and build homes, try to fix squabbles amongst couples and ensure that we have a happy nation."

Mathuthu said on the aspect of development – development is up to what an individual thinks is development.

"I am sure everyone in Zimbabwe is aware that we have so many progressive programmes which our Government has passed out to the nation.  If you go out to the rural areas, people are busy in their fields as we speak, after the very good rains, which we received from the Almighty, people in rural areas and some in peri-urban areas, embarked on agriculture and they are reaping their harvest and I think that is developmental.  We have various programmes which have been offered by Government departments from different Ministries which people can take," she said.

"The Minister of Higher Education was talking about issues in their Ministries and so on and so forth.  I heard some Hon. Members jesting with

the Minister of Primary and Secondary  Education saying  mbudzi, which is development – – yes, according to me.  A home without mbudzi is not a home."

 Kindness Paradza said In 2014 and 2015, there was hype when a panel of media inquiry went around the country soliciting for views from people and a thick report was produced.

"The report has not been debated or implemented and we have not heard anything concerning that report.  What has happened to that report?" he

asked.

Mathuthu said, "I think the Hon. Member is referring to the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) report, the 600 something paged document.  We are yet to hold an Indaba with all stakeholders who participated when the teams led by Nyarota went out into the country to gather views on how we can improve our media space.  Thereafter, we will bring some proposal to this august House so that we come up with a proper instrument which will guide the media."

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

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