NEW: ‘Journalists’ safety is a priority’

The Sunday Mail

Online reporter

GOVERNMENT, through law enforcement agents, will continue to ensure the safety of journalists as they carry out their duties, said Department of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Permanent Secretary Mr Nick Mangwana.

He was speaking at the graduation ceremony of the Advanced International Training Program in Media Development in a Democratic Framework in Harare on Friday.

Mr Mangwana said media stakeholders should draw up sustainable operational guidelines to help stop violence against media practitioners.

“As the president said, the safety of journalists is guaranteed by Zimbabweans themselves.

“Journalists’ safety is ensured by our law enforcement officers, making sure they are not mistreated or attacked by citizens, companies and anyone they have written about,” he said.

“When it comes to the security of this country, we have institutions for that.

No one, he said, should take the law into their own hands.

He welcomed the cordial relationship that exists between Zimbabwe and the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), which is funding the one-year programme.

“Although our relationship started on a dubious page, we are happy that we now trust each other and share almost the same feelings about the safety of our media practitioners,” he said.

Mr Mangwana presented certificates to five participants who completed the programme.

International Training Program National Facilitator Mr Nigel Nyamutumbu said: “Training like this offers not only exposure, but also getting into the context of where some international agreements come from and how the global family defines media regulation.”

Zimpapers Group Executive Editor, Mr William Chikoto, who was among the participants, said the program was critical and contributed to a harmonious working relationship between the media and other stakeholders, especially law enforcement officials.

“The program was feasible in execution. For the first time in the last election, I don’t remember a journalist being arrested or beaten,” he said.

“If you compare to other years, we have heard more cases of violations against media practitioners.”

Those who received certificates include the Deputy Director of Legal Services of the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting, Ms Belinda Chitote; the former Chairperson of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Ms Sipho Mokone; media trainer and chairman of the Media Institute of South Africa (MISA) Mr. Golden Maunganidze; Zimpapers Editor-in-Chief Mr. William Chikoto; and Ms. Betty Munovenyu, who works in the Research Department at the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

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