Bulletins - Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission's Message on World Press Freedom Day-3rd May 2024

WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

[3rd May 2024]

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission’s Message for World Press Freedom Day

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Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Commemorates World Press Freedom Day;

3 May 2024

 

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) joins the media sector and the global community in celebrating World Press Freedom Day, which is commemorated annually on 3 May. The purpose of the day is to celebrate fundamental principles of press freedom, assess the state of press freedom, foster commitment to independence of the media and celebrate the work of journalists, some of whom would have lost their lives in the line of duty.

 

ZHRC commends the Constitution of Zimbabwe for preserving both freedom of expression and freedom of the media in section 61 while section 62 guarantees access to information. This year's theme, "A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis," highlights the crucial role that the media plays in raising awareness on environmental issues and fostering sustainable development. The environmental crisis is a global concern that demands urgent redress and action. Climate change, deforestation, bio diversity loss, pollution, and other environmental threats pose significant challenges to human rights, including the right to life, right to healthcare, right to food and water, and a clean and sustainable environment. Journalists have a critical responsibility to inform the public, hold decision-makers accountable, and stimulate dialogue on environmental issues.

 

The theme, "A Press for the Planet: Journalism in the Face of Environmental Crisis”, is of great relevance to Zimbabwe and other sub-Saharan countries heavily affected by the El Nino weather pattern that has resulted in drought. In this regard, the ZHRC recognizes the invaluable work of journalists and media organizations in Zimbabwe in investigating, documenting, and disseminating information on the food crisis and efforts being done to address it as well as information on environmental degradation, conservation efforts, and sustainable practices which is crucial in raising awareness and advocating for positive change. ZHRC therefore calls upon the government of Zimbabwe, State and private media organizations, civil society, and the public at large to reaffirm their commitment to press freedom, freedom of expression, and access to information, including on digital platforms. ZHRC emphasizes the importance of promoting balanced and evidence-based reporting, fostering public understanding, and facilitating informed decision-making on socio-economic and political issues.

 

Furthermore, ZHRC urges all stakeholders, in particular the Government, to create an enabling environment that fully implements the rights guaranteed by sections 61(3) and (4) of the Constitution to a free, vibrant, and pluralistic media landscape. This will therefore support independent journalism and the rights of journalists and ensure their safety while reporting on environmental issues. In view of enhanced information dissemination in Zimbabwe through digital platforms the ZHRC reminds the media and the public at large of their duty to uphold the constitutionally protected fundamental rights to protection from incitement of violence, advocacy of hatred and hate speech, malicious injury to a person’s reputation or dignity as well as malicious breach of a person’s right to privacy. In light of the new compulsory obligation to pay for a car radio licence, the ZHRC reminds the State in particular to fully implement the right in Section 61 (4) of the Constitution to a State funded media that is impartial, independent and accessible to divergent opinions.

 

In line with the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals, ZHRC calls for enhanced collaboration between the Government, media, civil society, and the private sector to address issues of climate change in light of the current food crisis. By working together, we can raise awareness, mobilize resources, and implement effective strategies to mitigate the adverse effects of environmental degradation and climate change with particular focus on protection of vulnerable communities as well as of women and girls as climate change tends to exacerbate existing inequalities.

For inquiries or further information, please contact:

Head Office:

144 Samora Machel Avenue

P. Bag 7759 Causeway,

Harare

Tel: +263 242 293 4102 / 2934103/ 705 426/ 705 268

 

Harare Provincial Office 

No. 99 Jason Moyo Avenue Harare

Tel: +263242254013

 

Bulawayo:

46 Park Road, Suburbs

Tel: 0292 232205/ 0292 223207

Website:www.zhrc.org.zw Email: complaints@zhrc.org.zw info@zhrc.org.zw

 

Mutare Office:

No. 59, Second Street

Premco Building, 2nd Floor

Tel: 0202021697/ 0202021753/ 0202021855/ 0202021628

 

Masvingo Office:

Number 9 Hellet/ Shuvai Mahofa Street

Landline: 0392 261 814

Hotline: 0771838654/ 0771838656

 

Matabeleland North:

Lubancho House F35/36 Lwendulu, Number 1

Hwange

Tel: 0779 413 114/ 0714754699

 

Mashonaland West

Office 24 Block No.2

Chinese Complex

Chinhoyi

Tel: +263779483379

 

Hotlines: 0786602035/ 0771838656/ 0719635068

Email: complaints@zhrc.org.zw/info@zhrc.org.zw

Website:www.zhrc.org.zw

Facebook page: @zhrc.zw 

Twitter:@zhrc365

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