Chitungwiza Community Development Network joins the rest of the world in commemorating this year’s World Press Freedom Day.
A report by Reporters Without Boarders revealed that Zimbabwe has one of the most hostile environments for journalists in the world. Out of 180 countries cited in the survey, Zimbabwe was ranked lowly at 126.
Despite the fact that Section 61 and 62 of the 2013 Constitution guarantee the right to freedom of expression, freedom of media and access to information, journalists and the general citizens continue to face harassment, torture, intimidation and assault for exercising these rights.
Freedom of expression in Zimbabwe in under severe strain as those in power and those responsible for ensuring the citizens’ human rights resort to all manner of tricks to prevent journalists from exposing their incompetent and violation of human rights.
This year’s theme is Keeping Power in Check: Media Justice and the rule of Law. The theme of the 2018 celebrations highlights the importance of an enabling legal environment for press freedom and gives special attention to the role of an independent judiciary in ensuring legal guarantees for press freedom and the prosecution of crisis against journalists.
At the same time the theme addresses the role of the media in sustainable development especially during elections as a watchdog fostering transparency, accountability and the rule of law. It is vital to note that the world is commemorating the World Press Freedom Day a few months before Zimbabwe’s watershed elections.
As such CCDN calls upon the government of Zimbabwe to:
- Remove all restrictions of press freedom and access to information during the upcoming elections.
- Liberalise airwaves and licensing of community radio stations for citizens to access information on what will be transpiring in their respective communities.
- Ensure that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation is truly independent and accessible to all political parties contesting in the upcoming elections.
- Ensure protection of journalists covering campaigns and rallies of all political parties during the upcoming elections.