MEDIA players on Thursday blasted a recommendation which suggests that journalists who write negatively about Zimbabwe deserve to be severely punished.
This recommendation was submitted by Broad Alliance Against Sanctions (BAAS)- a group which is advocating for the removal of sanctions.
BAAS chairperson Calvin Chitsunge shared the sentiments with the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs members this week, after they called for enactment of a Zimbabwe Patriotic Act (ZPA) that carries a 25-year jail term on people who call for sanctions to be imposed on the country.
Addressing parliamentarians on Wednesday, Chitsunge said that their proposed ZPA must also deal harshly with journalists who write negative stories about Zimbabwe.
“When the proposed ZPA is enacted, it must impose a mandatory 25-year sentence to anyone who calls for sanctions and that person must never hold public office because they do not have people at heart, and their organisation must also be banned,” Chitsunge said.
In an nterview with the Zim Morning Post on Thursday, Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) executive director Loughty Dube criticized Chitsunge’s remarks stating that every journalist’s right is protected by the constitution.
“Journalism profession should not be criminalized because even if a journalist writes what is bad towards a company, they know where they should report,” he said.
The Young Journalist Association (YOJA) president, Mlondolozi Ndlovu said journalists have to play the watchdog role in the society, inform and educate the society, therefore if their rights are deprived it is tantamount to the death of democracy.