Zimbabwe Media Commission
[2nd November 2023]
Statement on the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists
The 2nd of November is commemorated as the International Day to End Impunity Against Journalists (IDEI), world over . The purpose of the day is to promote freedom of expression and reinforce a coordinated response to threats faced by journalists.
Today, he Zimbabwe Media Commission published a statement on IDEI and press freedom in Zimbabwe. The text of the statement is as follows:
Today marks the 2023 commemoration of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, a day on the United Nations calendar, set aside to reflect and seek for solutions on the abuse of journalists the world over. On this significant occasion, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) reaffirms its unwavering commitment to upholding the fundamental principles of press freedom and ensuring the safety and protection of journalists in the line of duty. This year's focus on violence against journalists, the integrity of elections, and the role of public leadership, underscores the critical need to address the challenges and risks faced by journalists, particularly in the context of electoral processes and public discourse.
Freedom of the press and the media is guaranteed by Section 61 of the Constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe (No. 20) 2013, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission Act. These legal provisions give media practitioners the liberty to carry out their work in the country without any hindrance as long as they will be doing so in the confines of the law.
Reflecting on the 2023 General Harmonised elections in Zimbabwe, the ZMC highlights the proactive measures taken to enhance the safety and well-being of journalists during the electoral process. Through the implementation of targeted initiatives, such as the publishing of the Elections Reporting and Peace Journalism manual, distribution of press jackets, specialized election reporting trainings, and strategic stakeholder engagements, the Commission prioritized the empowerment and protection of journalists, ensuring they were equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to navigate potential risks and challenges associated with election coverage.
Through deliberate engagements with critical stakeholders, no major incidences of violence were recorded against media practitioners during the electoral period.
In light of this, the ZMC emphasizes the imperative role of public leadership in safeguarding the rights and safety of journalists, ensuring that they can carry out their duties without fear of reprisal or intimidation. The Commission calls upon all Zimbabweans to actively promote a culture of respect for press freedom and to ensure the protection and safety of journalists lawfully conducting their duties and to respect the constitutional rights of the media.
The ZMC remains dedicated to fostering a conducive environment for the practice of journalism. advocating for the protection of media professionals. As we commemorate this day, we reiterate our commitment to championing the rights of journalists and fostering a free and vibrant media landscape that is instrumental in upholding democratic values and principles in Zimbabwe.
Issued by The Zimbabwe Media Commission
Date 2 November 2023