Tichaona Zindoga Political Editor
Media in Zimbabwe should put the national interest first and have a duty to articulate Government’s Vision 2030 for the ordinary person, a Cabinet minister has said. Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa told The Herald yesterday that the ministry was also keen on reforming and capacitating the media so that it would produce professional, accurate and balanced outputs.
Parastatals – that is business entities under the ministry – would also be reformed to ensure viability.
“It is common cause that there is always an expectation that the media should put the national interest first, since we are Zimbabweans first, and everything else later,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.
“The media should work behind the Zimbabwe flag. We only expect them to do their job objectively and breaking down Vision 2030 such that an ordinary person can have an appreciation of where Government is taking us in the long term: for instance what does a middle income economy mean?
“How does it ensure dollars trickle into citizens’ pockets? Figures and statistics do not communicate with the ordinary people, they confuse and obfuscate the message. It is the duty of the media to explain, critique and simplify Vision 2030 into everyday language.”
Last year, President Mnangagwa enunciated Vision 2030, which will see Zimbabwe becoming a middle-income economy by 2030.
According to the World Bank, a middle-income economy is one with a gross national income ranging between US$1 005 and US$12 235 per capita.
For its own part, Government has facilitated access to information by the media through the Post-Cabinet Media Briefings that are open to both the legacy and social media.
Cde Mutsvangwa said this was in line with President Mnangagwa’s thrust of establishing a transparent, accountable and open Government that was critical in a democracy where access to information by citizenry was important.
According to Cde Mutsvangwa, media in the country was operating sub-optimally, necessitating changes that the ministry was now being seized with.
“We are in a new dispensation, where the overall goal is to ensure the provision of professional, accurate and balanced media output that enhances Zimbabwe’s democracy,” she said.
“In that regard, issues to do with professionalising and equipping content creating institutions and realigning them to meet the ever-changing technology-driven industry is of paramount importance.
“Such institutions need to be able to compete in a liberalised media market where (they) will face stiff competition from private players.”
Cde Mutsvangwa said Government’s Transitional Stabilisation Programme and Vision 2030 placed a premium on good corporate governance and the eradication of corruption in the public sector.
“In that vein, the ministry will seek to reform parastatals under its ambit to ensure their profitability and in the process lessen the financial burden on the fiscus,” she said.