By Staff Reporter
THE Zimbabwe Union of Journalist (ZUJ) has strongly condemned threats made Thursday by Norton legislator Temba Mliswa to use parliamentarian privileges and lobby for tighter control on the work of journalists.
Mliswa made the threats at a press conference held at his Borrowdale home after media reports following a messy fall-out with his Australian based lover Susan Mutami.
The irate legislator threatened to move a motion in the House of Assembly for an amendment of laws that will further curtail the operations of media.
“There must be a price a journalist must pay for being unethical…If a man who steals cattle is given nine years, there must be a law that if a journalist is not factual, it must be five years,” said Mliswa.
However, in a statement, ZUJ said Mliswa`s utterance were unfortunate considering the government had acknowledged the country`s media environment was hostile. As a result, the government was working on fine tuning the media environment in consultation with other key stakeholders.
Against this background, the union said, it viewed Mliswa’s utterances as unhelpful in the fight for media reforms, which are key to a just and democratic society as underpinned by press freedom and freedom of expression.
“The union, therefore, urges leaders to always strive to rise above narrow pursuits and instead use the power of their offices to good use by championing the overall sanctity of the tenets of the constitution for the general good of the country,” said ZUJ.
It added there were already existing channels to raise complaints against journalists who would have acted in an unprofessional manner.
“The union is happy to learn that Hon. Mliswa has since approached one, the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) for redress,” said ZUJ.
Meanwhile, Mliswa has since appeared before a Harare magistrate court facing charges of contravening lockdown regulations for holding the press conference.
He was granted $20 000 bail Friday and will be back in court on March 4.