Harare, Zimbabwe. (News of The South) – The European Union (EU) delegation in Zimbabwe and the Norway Ministry of foreign affairs injected $1 million into the country’s media system, in a bid to support free and fair elections.
Nine local media organizations under the auspices of Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) are part of the programme, dubbed “Support to Media on Governance and Electoral Matters in Zimbabwe”.
The programme seeks to contribute towards a free and fair electoral in Zimbabwe where media rights, freedom of information and expression are guaranteed and all citizens are free to participate.
Speaking at the launch in Harare recently, Head of EU delegation to Zimbabwe, Ambassador Philippe Van Damme said the EU had put in Euros 850 000 which translates to $1 million.
“In this context, I’m happy to be here at the official launch of our project in “Support to Media Governance and Electoral Matters”. A grant of Euro 850 000 was awarded to International Media Support (IMS), a highly regarded NGO that is working very closely together with local media actors to support an electoral environment where freedom of expression is guaranteed and all citizens are free toparticipate,” he said.
Ambassador Van Damme said the launch of the program will benefit all.
“With regard to capacity building, the project will cover mainstream and alternative media and thus reach out to journalists and editors, but also citizen journalists to enhance the scope and depth analysis of electoral issues.
“The performance of the media will be systematically monitored and this information will be used to engage in a structured dialogue with the media to improve their reporting as well as to inform the public and other stakeholders.
“Secondly, it will improve the accessibility by rural and urban citizens to a variety of media platforms both on and offline, thus enhancing citizens’ capacity to take informed decisions and to fully participate in the elections,” he said.
Addressing also media practitioners at the launch, Acting Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Simon Khaya Moyo commended the EU and Norwegian government for supporting the programme in Zimbabwe by providing funding and technical support for the media program.
He said the media intervention should be one step in the right direction towards bringing about a positive change in respect to media accountability in Zimbabwe.
“Civil media organizations should similarly remove their old jackets and don new ones as change agents for fostering peace, national unity and economic development.
“Media polarization which has been the hallmark of our media discourse has no room in Zimbabwe under the new political dispensation which enjoins all Zimbabweans to work together focusing on the economy,” he said.
Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Foster Dongozi said as a trade union we are happy about the programme which will capacitate journalists.
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