were either arrested, assaulted or harassed, while conducting their lawful professional duties
notwithstanding the fact that the media was declared an essential service in terms of the COVID19 regulations. (Refer to media violations statistics table beneath for further details).
These violations resulted in MISA Zimbabwe successfully filing for a High Court order barring
the police and any other state security agents from arresting, detaining or interfering with the
work of journalists.
In a related development, and back-to-back with that application, MISA Zimbabwe, filed yet
another successful application with the High Court compelling the Ministry of Health and Child
Care and the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, to promote citizens’
access to information pertaining to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Having to resort to court applications to enforce constitutionally guaranteed rights, therefore
speaks volumes about the government’s sincerity in entrenching the pillars of democracy and
commitment to uphold the rights to media freedom, freedom of expression and access to
information as provided for by Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution, let alone other rights in
the Bill of Rights.
In the meantime , the media policy and law reform process continues to move at a slow pace,
considering that the Freedom of Information Act, which is part of the three laws aimed at
unbundling the widely discredited Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
was only signed into law on 1 July 2020, seven years after the coming into being of the 2013
At the time of writing of this report, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill was still at the
Second Reading Stage in Parliament while the proposed Broadcasting Services Amendment Bill
and Protection of Personal Information Bill, were still to be gazetted.
Media sustainability
Regrettably, this is coming at a time when the future of the media in Zimbabwe is precariously
hanging by the thread and on the verge of bankruptcy. This is in terms of the media’s
sustainability and viability due to the untenable socio-economic situation which is hurting
businesses in the wake of declining revenue streams and incomes.
This is ominous given the role the media plays in providing critical information to the public that
assists in making informed decisions. This is even more critical at a time when the country has
put in place measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Suffice to say, the nation would be plunged into darkness if the media collapses, dealing a severe
blow to government’s efforts in combating the COVID-19 pandemic and the country’s socioeconomic wellbeing and democratic aspirations.
It is with this view in mind that the Chairperson of MISA Zimbabwe, Golden Maunganidze,
wrote to the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica
Mutsvangwa, pleading with government to seriously consider coming up with a Media
Sustainability Bailout Rescue Package.


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