Home » Governance » Minister Moyo Speaks On Realignment of Laws

Realignment of media laws with the new Constitution might not be enough if not accompanied by good professional practices by journalists, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has said.

Prof Moyo, who was giving oral evidence before the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services on Thursday, said there was need to deal with negative practices such as the polarisation between the mainstream media and corruption, among other vices, if the alignment of laws was to achieve intended objectives.

The Minister had been invited to update the House on progress in alignment of media laws and digitalisation of broadcasting services in the country.

“Practice does not follow the law, but the law follows practice,” he said. “What matters is how we relate, how we engage, how we do our business as a nation. This has been the missing link. There is a narrow focus on alignment of laws.

“It is narrow because it overlooks the fact that the Constitution is a fundamental law, meaning we should not be unnecessarily worried.”

Polarisation among Zimbabweans, which Prof Moyo said was reflected in the media, both private and public, was one of the things that needed to be addressed as it had become entrenched.

Zimbabweans, said Prof Moyo, had over the past 15 years been quarrelling, sometimes over trivial issues, something that consumed valuable time and cost the nation in general.

He said Zimbabweans should take comfort in the fact that there was already a new homegrown Constitution and that any law that was not consistent with the supreme law was invalid.

“Any aspect in the law that is inconsistent with the Constitution is of no force and effect,” said Prof Moyo. “This is what should give us assurance.”

Turning to the Information andMedia Panel of Inquiry, Prof Moyo said the body was being funded by Treasury to the tune of $1,6 million.

He said while IMPI members were getting US$300 per sitting each, they did not convene meetings everyday.

“Members of IMPI were appointed by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on the basis of the authority that I have,” said Prof Moyo. “I do have authority, I took oath to uphold it and I did it with consultation with the affected media houses.”

Prof Moyo said the committee would soon tour countries like Zambia, Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya.

He said alignment of laws needed wide consultation and would take into account past, current experiences and future prospects.

“It may in the end not only be a question of just making sure that the law is consistent with the Constitution, but also looking at making new legislation, new ideas,” said Prof Moyo. “The new Constitution creates new opportunities.”

Prof Moyo said US$173 million was required to complete digitalisation of broadcasting services, including retiring Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s debt and its subsequent restructuring.

He said the preliminary report of ZBC forensic audit was presented to him two weeks ago, while the final report would be presented to him in a few days.

Prof Moyo said the Constitution allowed both self and statutory regulation for the media and that was the trajectory of modern day development.

He defended the US$7 500 fees charged to broadcasting licence applicants, saying it was important to realise that the frequency spectrum was a finite resource which could only be accessed by a few.

Source : The Herald