MP bans constituents from listening to Studio 7

April 3, 2012 at 7:29 am Leave a comment

http://www.swradioafrica.com

STATEMENT ON MP ZIYAMBI’S ADMISSIONS

ZACRAS is outraged by actions of the Member of Parliament for Chakari,
Zachariah Ziyambi, who banned members of his constituency from listening to
Studio 7 and reading newspapers perceived to be hostile to ZANU-PF.
In a Newsday article of 2 April 2012, the ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for
Chakari, Zachariah Ziyambi, stated that he advised his constituency not to
listen to Voice of America’s Studio 7 or read newspapers hostile to ZANU-PF
, so that they do not get distracted. Honourable Ziyambi said this during a
parliamentary workshop organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA-Zimbabwe) in Kariba.

It is deplorable that the same individuals whom Zimbabweans entrusted and
voted into office, are the same individuals who seek to gag citizen’s right
to access information. The right to information is a basic human right, and
should not be viewed as a privilege which can be bestowed or taken away from
citizens at the whims of politicians.

In the same Newsday article, MP Ziyambi went on to add that his constituency
does not have access to newspapers and has limited access to ZBC radio
stations. It is ZACRAS’ view that, by restricting access to Studio 7 and any
other information sources which do not glorify ZANU-PF, the MP is striving
to create information blackout.

Contrary to Honourable Ziyambi’s actions, ZACRAS is of the belief that
Parliamentarians should be at the forefront of championing the attainment of
democratic principles, of which access to information is one of them .It is
therefore regrettable that MPs like Ziyambi, are putting restrictions and
dictating the kind of information that citizens should access.

ZACRAS believes that, placing restrictions on access to information promotes
a culture of passivity and docility on the part of citizens. Restricting
access to information will culminate in the constituency of Chakari being
deprived of information .As a result, constituency members will not be able
to actively engage in governance issues and demand accountability and
transparency.

Currently, there has been an upsurge in cases of Parliamentarians who are
abusing Community Development Funds (CDF).It is such instances which
necessitate the empowerment of citizens through information provision, so
that they demand accountability and transparency from the governing.
ZACRAS maintains its call for broadcasting diversity which will result in
the licensing of community radios. It is ZACRAS’ conviction that community
radios will close the information gap which has been created by ZBC’s
failure to broadcast in all regions of Zimbabwe.

Promotion of access to information, freedom of expression and information
dissemination is one of the cornerstones of any vibrant and healthy
democratic society. Through community radios, the free flow of information
will contribute to transparency, accountability and the rule of law. In this
manner, citizen participation in public and political discourse will be
greatly enhanced.

The free flow of information within countries and across international
borders is a powerful force for development, understanding and positive
change. Through access to information and participation of communities, an
empowered Zimbabwe will actively participate in governance issues and demand
accountability and transparency from the governing.

Gift Mambipiri
ZACRAS Chairperson

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