Media Freedom Under Threat as Zimbabwe Media Commission Imposes Gukurahundi Code of Conduct

March 11, 2024
Ruby Magosvongwe | Report Focus News
Magosvongwe at the 'Gukurahundi media sensitization breakfast meeting' held at the Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare

In a controversial move, Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Chairperson, Professor Ruby Magosvongwe, has announced that media organizations unwilling to endorse a contentious code of conduct, crafted in collaboration with a select group of journalists, will face restrictions from reporting on the upcoming Gukurahundi outreach program. This stance by the ZMC poses a significant challenge to media freedom.

Magosvongwe made these declarations during a meeting between the ZMC and the journalist committee it collaborates with in Harare on Monday. The event, termed the “Gukurahundi media sensitization breakfast meeting,” was held at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, following previous sessions in Bulawayo.

Critics argue that the ZMC’s approach, in conjunction with the journalist committee, lacks representativeness and falls short of authentic stakeholder consultations. Instead, it appears to impose restrictions on media coverage of the Gukurahundi investigation, drawing parallels with censorship during the 1980s massacres and the subsequent genocide. This coercive strategy adopted by the ZMC and its journalist allies raises concerns about potential legal repercussions, as it may undermine constitutionally protected media liberties—specifically, freedom of the press and freedom of expression. Compelling journalists to adhere to a restrictive code effectively stifles their voices and raises questions about media oppression.