Government concerned about journalists welfare-Mangwana 

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By Bulawayo Correspondent

THE government has expressed concern over the welfare of journalists and says it is working on the Media Practitioners Bill to address the issue.

Speaking during a United Nations (UN) Media workshop on development reporting in Mutare on Monday, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services permanent secretary, Nick Mangwana, pointed out that the safety of journalists and media organisations is important in development reporting.

“In development reporting, safety of journalists and media organizations is also promoted at the same time co-regulated guided by journalism ethics standards.

“Still on the same issue of journalists’ welfare, my ministry is working on the Media Practitioners Bill, which is already in its draft form and now awaits stakeholder consultations, which all the media stakeholders will be made aware of,” said the permanent secretary.

Mangwana also warned politicians to stop hijacking community radios for their own political expediency.

“The law prohibits political content on community radio stations. Those radio stations are only for developmental issues and other human interests. Politics divides people.

“The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has monitors for each community radio station whose responsibility is to monitor their content and compliance within the confines of the law,” he said.

The monitors are also conversant with the local languages.

“If someone is pushing a political agenda they will be dealt with by the regulator and this may result in the loss of a licence,” he warned.

Mangwana’s warning comes in the wake of reports that some ruling party politicians are politicising the community radio stations ahead of next year’s elections.

The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)has so far licensed 14 community radio stations in eight provinces.

The four day workshop is being attended by government officials, editors and reporters from various media organisations in the country.