MASVINGO – The Mirror, a regional newspaper that covers five provinces in the Southern region (Masvingo, Midlands, Mat South, Manicaland and Mash East) held two functions on Friday and Saturday last week to commemorate the 2017 World Press Freedom Day.
The commemorations are held on May 3 every year but The Mirror had to hold them at Jerera in Zaka and at the Civic Centre in Masvingo belatedly.
Speaking in Jerera on Friday, Mirror Editor, Nkulumani Mlambo said The Mirror decided to hold commemorations for the first time this year after realising that the events have over the years been held in cities only. The Mirror therefore took the commemorations to rural areas in order to create awareness on rights to information and access to the media, added Mlambo.
At Jerera, The Mirror held a workshop and in Masvingo, journalists, trade unions like the Zimbabwe Energy Workers' Union, Masvingo Residents and Ratepayers Association, Masvingo Residents Association, Community Radio personalities and lawyers marched through the streets holding banners and placards before converging at the Civic Centre where they were addressed by various speakers including Masvingo Mayor Hubert Fidze.
"Our Press Freedom Day Celebrations as The mirror are targeted at the hinterland and in particular the rural readership that may not even be aware of the existence of such a day and its inherent rights and freedoms. You will find out that our programme was to stage events in Zaka, Gutu and Zvishavane but because of resources constraints we were only able to cover one rural area; Zaka.
"It is our intention to make this event more and more visible in the rural areas and we plan to get into more rural districts next year," said Mlambo.
In Jerera, community leaders gathered at the council hall where during his key note speech Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri who is a lecturer at the Midlands State University highlighted the role of the media in promoting peace, inclusivity and a just society.
The heads of Government departments questioned the unethical and unprofessional conduct by some newspapers and reporters. In response Mirror editor, Nkilumani Mlambo said there is recourse for aggrieved parties and readers. He advised those with grievances to either report to the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Media Commission or sue through the courts.
"However, your first option is to approach the editor as some cases are simple and maybe resolved amicably without going to courts," said Mlambo.