HARARE – Speaker of the National Assembly Advocate Jacob Mudenda has challenged Parliament to create an appropriate legal framework for the promotion of media independence and diversity.
He said this during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). “Parliament must play a key democratic role in setting an appropriate legal framework for the media to ensure both their independence and diversity.
“The media, on the other hand, constitute the key means for informing citizens about public affairs, and a key channel of communication between Parliament and the public,” Advocate Mudenda said.
He said the agreement would help Parliament meet its objective of having a dedicated television channel. “Through the signing of this agreement, therefore, we have strategically positioned ourselves as an ubiquitous source of much needed programmes for our national broadcaster. Our ultimate objective is to have a channel dedicated entirely to Parliament akin to the Parliamentary Service Channel in South Africa,” he said.
Advocate Mudenda said it was through such cooperation with the media that the interests of the public are safeguarded and that their aspirations underpin the business of Parliament. ZBC board chairman Father Gibson Munyoro said the signing of the MoU was meant to make Parliament more accountable to the public. “This MoU between the ZBC and the Parliament of Zimbabwe is an attempt to get the legislature to be accountable to the citizens who elected them to the two Houses.
“Through this partnership the citizens of Zimbabwe shall be educated about what their representatives in Parliament discuss, how their representatives represent them in Parliament,” Fr Munyoro said. He said ZBC was currently doing live broadcasts for question time on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but would widen its coverage following the signing of the agreement. Fr Munyoro said ZBC remained committed to providing coverage to diverse sections of society.