Zimbabwean media organisations have threatened to boycott an
all-stakeholders' conference in Nyanga next month to review the
country's media environment and policies saying its agenda was flawed
and contrary to the principles of the global political agreement (GPA), according to a report in the Zimbabwe Independent.

The conference — postponed last month — will be held under the theme "Towards an Open, Tolerant and Responsible Media Environment". Its objective is to guide government's media policy. It will run from May 6-8.

According to the conference programme, the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, will give the official opening address while members of the Joint Implementation and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) — Ministers Welshman Ncube and Patrick Chinamasa, and lawyer Innocent Chagonda — will outline articles relevant to freedom of expression in the GPA.

Presenters at the conference include former Minister of Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo — the mastermind of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), Media and Information Commission chairman Tafataona Mahoso, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, and filmmaker Olley Maruma, among others.

It is also expected that various media stakeholders will make presentations on themes relating to the media.

Some of the topics under discussion include Freedom of Expression, Media and the Rights of the State (Tomana), The Media and a Christian Perspective (Trevor Manhanga), Regulation and Print Media — Experience to Date (Mahoso), The Media and National Interest in a Global Context (Olley Maruma), and Sanctions, Publishing and Access to Information (Phyllis Johnson).

The Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), a coalition of media organisations that include the Media Institute of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef), and the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, and the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, have described the outlined agenda and topics of discussion as "fatally compromised".

"After reviewing the programme for the proposed government of Zimbabwe all- stakeholders media conference, scheduled for May 6-8 in Nyanga, we regard the outlined agenda and topics for discussion as fatally compromised and anathema to media freedom and the principles of the global political agreement," the alliance said.

Click here to read the full report, posted on the Zimbabwe Independent's website.