Zimbabwe: Jomic Official Blasts State Media Over 'Hate Speech'

Regulation & Policy

The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee, stung by accusations that it is a paper tiger, has turned the heat on the state media accusing it of poisoning the new political dispensation. Thabitha Khumalo who represents the MDC-T on Jomic -- a tripartite forum monitoring the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) -- said they were worried that the state media had relapsed into "disseminating hate speech".

"We had a meeting with the media executives and explained to them what was expected of them in terms of the MoU," she said. "We noticed a short-lived reform but we are concerned that in the past four weeks, the state media has reverted back to its old ways of giving coverage biased towards one party while denigrating others."

Khumalo's statement follows comments by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that the government-controlled media was violating the GPA by continuing to serve partisan interests. "It is a fact that in contravention of both the letter and spirit of the GPA, the state media continues to serve partisan interests, thereby failing to fulfill their mandate as a public service to the people of Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai told journalists at the Gweru Press Club recently.

Tsvangirai gave an example of how the state media vilified him when he went on a tour of the United States and Europe to drum up financial support for the inclusive government. In response to the biased coverage, The Prime Minister's office recently started its own newsletter to update Zimbabweans on its activities.

But President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba recently told the state media that he was studying the publication to see if it was not violating the country's draconian media laws.

Jomic is made up of 12 members, with four drawn from each of the country's three main political parties, Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC.

The Standard