MDC-T President and Alliance candidate in the forthcoming elections, Nelson Chamisa says the media will play a key role in ensuring Zimbabwe holds credible elections.
In a statement to mark World Press Freedom Day issued Thursday, Chamisa said the media had a role to keep the government in check to ensure that the will of the people is allowed to stand in the forthcoming elections.
This year’s World Press Freedom Day was commemorated under the theme “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice and The Rule of Law”.
“Zimbabwe heads for an election this year, hence the role of the media will be crucial in the holding off free, fair and credible polls,” he said.
Chamisa expressed concern that the country was yet to open up the airwaves almost five years after the crafting of the new constitution, with independent players shut out.
“It is sad that despite the novel provisions in the Constitution demanding media diversity, Zimbabwe still has one national broadcaster 38 years after independence,” he said.
The MDC-T leader said licences for the few community radio stations and newspapers had been issued to those linked to the regime, which he said was against the dictates of the Constitution and international best practices.
Chamisa said his government would align media laws with the Constitution and repeal all repressive laws as part of its legislative agenda.
“In the true spirit of the theme, we want in our time a media industry that is the true voice of the people; a media that keeps power in check and that furthers the sacred agenda of justice and rule of law,” he said.
The MDC-T leader paid tribute to local journalists, saying they had worked tremendously to promote accountability and transparency under very difficult conditions.
Zimbabwean journalists have been a target of state brutality with dozens being assaulted, harassed and detained by the police in the course of their duties over the past few months.