The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) has called on the government to genuinely act on media reforms with sincerity, and in a move that should be seen to be transparent and all inclusive so as to promote press freedom in the country.

In its statement to mark World Press Freedom Day, yesterday, MAZ said the country’s broadcasting Act should be aligned to the Constitution to enable the opening up of the airwaves, to genuine independent media houses. MAZ added that all state-controlled media should be transformed into public media in line with best democratic practices, and called for a guarantee of the safety of journalists and the respect of their rights by both state and non-state actors.

The alliance also called on media practitioners to uphold highest standards of professionalism, truthfulness, accuracy, and maintain balanced reportage always, more so in this current era of fake news proliferation.

“The media should maintain highest standards of professionalism, and promote media accountability. MAZ submits that self regulation is the most democratic and affordable form of ensuring the media plays its watchdog role effectively,” said MAZ.

The media advocacy bemoaned the closed media environment in the country.

Despite assurances by the government that it was sincere in ensuring media pluralism, and media self regulation, the space has remained constricted, with journalists surviving like endangered species, amid calls to provide them with enough space to carry out their jobs effectively.

Meanwhile, the President Emmerson Mnangagwa administration is being acussed of suffocating the media space, and harassment of journalists, particularly from the private sector. Most recently, state heavy-handedness on the press reared its ugly head, when the state police (Zimbabwe Republic Police) threw teargas in the 263Chat newsroom.