ALLOW me to kindly ask the Information minister Tichaona Jokonya and his deputy to intervene and solve once and for all the long-running impasse between the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) and the Media and Information Commission
For the second time, the country’s media regulatory body has denied the ANZ a publishing licence on what many observers view as frivolous and vexatious grounds.
It is every level-headed realist’s suggestion that as Minister of Information, you are unhappy with the goings-on between the two parties.
While the ANZ and many other fair-minded people have acknowledged that the ANZ erred when it published without a licence, the MIC has chosen to ignore this and acts as if the Daily News and the Daily News on Sunday are currently in circulation.
The misunderstanding between the two parties, in all honesty, is no longer about the ANZ’s refusal to register with the MIC in the first place, but what former Information minister Jonathan Moyo called “oppositional reporting” by the newspaper group, and the “robust reportage” runs contrary to MIC chairman Tafataona Mahoso’s ideology or convictions. If one reads Mahoso’s long and winding rigmaroles in the Sunday Mail, they will not have problems realising the chairman’s stand on the issue.
Minister Jokonya, this is a great opportunity for you to stamp your authority and advise the chairman that licences are not given or denied on political party lines – it is not good for democracy, especially ours which is still young.
Minister, the developmental stories that you have always asked local journalists to write, I am sure, are not only about dam construction, introduction of irrigation by new farmers and that Zimbabwe now has 25 years of independence and democracy, but also about unearthing corruption and dictatorial tendencies, among others, if they rear their ugly head.
Minister Jokonya, your deputy Bright Matonga and Mahoso, this is the right time – in the interests of our silver jubilee, creating employment and more importantly press freedom and democracy – to forgive the ANZ and grant it a licence, if the MIC wants to remain credible and relevant.