Home » General » Nyarota Fights Back, Defends Media Panel

THE chairman of the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI), Geoff Nyarota, has rejected charges that his committee is duplicating services offered by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

Nyarota was responding to a letter by ZMC chairperson, Godfrey Majonga, explaining why the commission would not appear before the panel.

Majonga accused IMPI of usurping the functions of a constitutionally appointed body and of duplicating the functions of the ZMC.

Nyarota said the ZMC should have directed their concerns to the Ministry of Information immediately after the panel was set up in December last year.

“It is our belief that the Zimbabwe Media Commission would have rendered itself, all media stakeholders and the public at large a great service if it had voiced then the many issues that it now grandiloquently raises with IMPI, with the Ministry itself,” Nyarota said.

“By now it is our belief that these would have been settled already.”

The veteran journalist said while there were some common aspects such as conducting research on issues related to freedom of the press and freedom of expression, the Constitution of Zimbabwe also imposed a “promotional” role on the ZMC.

“It is however not within IMPI’s mandate to promote any of the aspects being looked at but rather to simply ‘inquire’, and ‘assess’ the status quo of the various aspects outlined in our’terms of reference and to then further make recommendations on these issues,” he said.

Nyarota added that one of the reasons IMPI was set up was because of the “alleged non-visibility and low-level activity of the ZMC”.

He said there were allegations that the ZMC appears keen “to register new publications willy-nilly just to make money without monitoring whether the registered publications are actually launched or, if they are launched, whether they seek to be viable or adhere to the required standards of journalism” yet ZMC is mandated to “promote and enforce good practices and ethics of journalism”.

He said the ZMC’s activities in that regard were hardly visible.

“Further, we would like to point out that in as much as IMPI is conducting an inquiry, its mandate, in our view, goes beyond that ascribed to the ZMC in that it is looking at a wider diversity of issues,” he said.

“Above all, a major difference between the ZMC and IMPI is that IMPI has a time frame, four months, within which to accomplish its mandate, whereas ZMC’s mandate is open-ended.

“As already noted, IMPI would have preferred that the question of our mandate vis-a-vis that of the ZMC, had been raised with the responsible ministry at the time when this panel was constituted, not now when IMPI is actually concluding its assignment and more-so not with ourselves as we are merely a creature of the Ministry”.

He urged the ZMC to reconsider its position and take aantage of this process to contribute to the debate on how Zimbabwe’s media and information industry can be improved.

“ZMC’s abstaining from contributing to this process is of no benefit to the public at large, for whose interest this programme is being conducted. It is our hope then that the ZMC will not allow this process to pass by without it also taking the opportunity to influence the outcome of this very important process,” Nyarota said.

Source : New Zimbabwe