The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) newly elected chairperson, Vivienne Marara, has expressed concern at the partisan issuance of commercial television and radio licences, saying this is not good for governance.

She said this is an area where her organisation will have to put its foot down and lobby the government in the field.

The MAZ new chair also added that MAZ will from now on work on rescuing media companies that are facing collapse from the dire effects of Covid-19 lockdown, the organisation’s newly elected chairperson, Vivienne Marara has said.

Marara, who was elected MAZ chairperson on Tuesday said this in an interview with The Mirror. MAZ is a grouping of nine media organisations ranging from advocacy groups to journalists’ unions.

Marara said that the lockdown period that ran from March this year had a serious negative effect on the viability of media organisations in the country and there is therefore need to come up with programmes to help struggling companies.

During that period national newspapers and radio stations retrenched workers, failed to pay salaries and most resorted to digital platforms after they failed to publish the hard copy. Journalists lost jobs or income. The media situation in Zimbabwe is compounded by the difficult economic situation.

“Media sustainability is a key issue during my term of office. We will focus on devising ways of safeguarding the sustainability of media organisations, particularly following the devastating effects of the Covid-19 lockdown,” said Marara.

Marara, who is also the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS) national coordinator, said MAZ will also closely monitor media law reforms that Government has embarked on.

The new MAZ deputy chair is the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director Loughty Dube.

Marara replaces MISA director Tabani Moyo as chairperson while Dube replaces Gender and Media Connect (GMC) director Abigail Gamanya. The elections are held annually with the chairperson and deputy being elected from media support organisations that are part of MAZ.

The organisations that form MAZ are Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (Zinef), Gender and Media Connect (GMC), Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), the Media Centre and African Community Publishing Development Trust (ACPDT).

-Masvingo Mirror