By Clayton Masekesa
CHIMANIMANI – The Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Monica Mutsvangwa has said all citizens of Zimbabwe will enjoy universal access to information if the government and the media develop a sound working relationship.
Mutsvanga made these remarks during the handing over of broadcasting equipment to Chimanimani Community Radio station on Monday.
The equipment was handed over to the community radio station during this year’s commemoration of the International Day for Universal Access to Information held in Chimanimani district.
The donation of the equipment was through the partnership of UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa and the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services with funding from the World Bank under the UNOPS managed Zimbabwe Idai Recovery Project (ZIRP).
“My Ministry has developed a cordial working relationship with the country’s media practitioners and always strives to ensure that the rights of journalists, who are a vital cog in information dissemination, are guaranteed,” she said.
“It is my fervent hope that the good relationship continues and together we ensure that universal access to information is enjoyed by all citizens of Zimbabwe,” said Mutsvangwa.
Mutsvangwa said her door is always open for engagement.
“Gone are the days when journalists would have to scrounge around and look for tidbits on what would have been deliberated in Cabinet. In this new dispensation, such information that is pertinent to citizens is delivered timeously and publicly thus guaranteeing the constitutional right of access to information,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said some of the measures being undertaken by government to promote media freedom include the enactment of the Freedom of Information Act in July this year, which repealed the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Said Mutsvangwa: “It provides citizens and media practitioners with the right to access information, thereby promoting transparency and accountability while also guaranteeing access to information.”
The new Freedom of Information Act has largely been viewed as a comprehensive law that promotes the much-needed freedom of expression and access to information in the country.