Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s office, said
on Tuesday that consultations to ease media restrictions in accordance
with the power-sharing deal will start in two weeks’ time, writes Tichaona Sibanda for SW Radio Africa.

A three day ministerial retreat that ended on Sunday in Victoria Falls unanimously agreed to review the media policy so as to create a political climate where divergent voices will be heard.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, who is in the ministerial group tasked with reviewing media policy and laws, said the new inclusive government wanted ‘to see a multiplicity of media houses.’

During the retreat government gave itself a timeline of three months to restore human rights and ease the strict restrictions on the media, although analysts remain skeptical that such ambitious targets can be met in such a short space of time.

‘It’s going to be a race against time to meet these challenges. Day one started on Monday after the retreat, today (Tuesday) is day number two and so people will need to move fast to meet the deadline. I must stress however that the highlight of the gathering was the need to reform the media and restore the rule of law,’ Moyo said.

A parliamentary portfolio committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology, chaired by MDC legislator Gift Chimanikire, was set up last week. This committee will work closely with the media sub committee of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC).

These working groups will try to undo some of the country’s stringent laws, enacted in 2002, which allowed the ZANU PF led government to ban foreign reporters, privately-owned daily newspapers and viciously clamp down on any form of free media.

Moyo said he was hopeful that once the working groups get together they will form a new media commission which will oversee serious steps towards freeing the airwaves, in terms of licensing TV and radio stations and allowing other players from outside to come and broadcast within the country.

Click here to read the full report, posted on SW Radio Africa's website.