Zim marks World Press Freedom Day

HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists will today join the rest of the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day and use the day to promote media professionalism and journalistic freedoms.

The day’s celebrations will be marked under the theme: “Critical Minds for Critical Times: The Media’s Role in Advancing a Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Zimbabwe” with an event organised by the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) at Harare Polytechnic College.

“Every year, May 3 is a date on which the media, journalists and stakeholders celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom; to evaluate press freedom in their own countries and around the world, to defend the media from attacks on their independence and to pay tribute to journalists who would have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession,” Zinef president Dumisani Muleya said.

This will bring up for discussion political, economic, sustainability and ethical issues affecting the media and journalists.

Muleya added; “As Zinef, our main mandate is to uphold professional and ethical standards in the media and to promote the free flow of ideas, while fostering free, independent, diverse and pluralistic media in print, broadcast, online and digital.

“Media progress and development enhances freedom of expression, and it contributes to peace, sustainability, poverty eradication and upholding of human rights.”

The guest of honour will be Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Chris Mushowe, while a panel featuring Ibbo Mandaza, Tafataona Mahoso and Pedzisai Ruhanya will partake in discussions.

In a statement yesterday, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) said the cybercrime laws should not subvert digital rights.

“As the world commemorates World Press Freedom Day this year, Misa Zimbabwe urges the government to ensure the proposed cybercrime laws do not erode constitutional rights to free expression online and offline,” the statement read.

“Sections 61 and 62 of Zimbabwe’s Constitution guarantee the right to freedom of expression and freedom of the media and access to information.

“These rights include the exercise and enjoyment of free expression online through the Internet (digital rights), print and broadcasting media.”

“Misa Zimbabwe’s theme for this year’s commemorations: In Defence of Digital Rights, thus, comes on the back of the proposed Computer Crime and Cybercrime Bill.

“It is our well-considered view that some of the Bill’s clauses, if not amended, infringe on fundamental rights to free expression and access to information. The other bills include the Data Protection Bill and Electronic Transaction and Electronic Commerce Bill.”

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