MUTARE residents yesterday told the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) that the media in Zimbabwe should end polarisation and focus on developmental issues and exposing corruption.
Others said it was time the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services licensed new players, particularly community radio stations, so that they would provide alternative voices which suited particular communities.
IMPI is on a countrywide tour to gather views of the people regarding the state of the media in Zimbabwe.
“We are tired of the polarised media in Zimbabwe. We don’t want bias because it helps nothing to the generality of the population. What we want now is the developmental issues and focus on issues that might help grow the economy,” a contributor said.
A disabled contributor added: “The media should do more to focus on people living with disabilities. If we feature more frequently in the media, then it means we get an opportunity to get help. We are facing too many problems, some of them which are abuse by our local authority. Had it been that we get the same assistance like that we get when voting (in the voting booth), then we will not be the same as we are today.”
One elderly participant urged the media to continue exposing corruption and individuals who dip their fingers in the public funds.
Others urged the country’s sole broadcaster Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to up its game concerning news coverage.
“We want the monopoly to end. ZBC should improve its programming and stop giving us stale news. They should move with time and they should not wait for weeks before we get their stories,” a contributor said.
Some journalists attending the IMPI called for the introduction of a National Employment Council to look into their welfare.
They also decried the continued harassment of journalists at work and the repressive media laws which militate against freedom of expression and access to information.
Prominent Mutare lawyer David Tandire said more had to be done to align media laws with the new Constitution.
IMPI, which comprises different media employees and stakeholders, is chaired by veteran journalist and former Daily News Editor Geoffrey Nyarota.