SENIOR STAFF WRITER
JOURNALISTS and other media practitioners can still use their 2019 and 2020 accreditation cards in executing their duties, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has said, adding it is yet to issue new ones for this year.
ZMC accredits journalists and issues them with press cards valid for one year, but the regulating authority is yet to accredit media practitioners for this year as it is waiting for the government to gazette the 2021 fees.
To allow journalists to carry out their duties freely, especially during the second Covid-19 lockdown, the commission said stakeholders must accept the old press cards as valid.
“The ZMC is advising all stakeholders, journalists and other media practitioners that the commission has not yet started issuing accreditation cards for the year 2021,” it said in a statement yesterday.
“The commission expects these fees to be gazetted any time soon. Once the fees have been gazetted, the ZMC will advise all journalists and media practitioners on the commencement of the accreditation process.
“The commission had hoped that the fees would have been gazetted well before the end of 2020.
“Normally, the commission starts the accreditation process well before the start of the year.”
The media regulator appealed to security forces to allow journalists freedom to conduct their work during the current lockdown.
To their credit, police and military personnel manning roadblocks and checkpoints across the country were yesterday allowing journalists free passage after presenting the 2020 press cards.
“The ZMC is alive to the concerns and challenges of journalists going about their duties without being duly accredited for the year.
“As a temporary measure to allow journalists and other media practitioners to carry on with their duties during this phase of the national lockdown, the ZMC is appealing to security forces and other stakeholders to accept accreditation cards for the years 2019 and 2020.
“This is because the commission failed to undertake its national accreditation outreach programme to other centres in 2020 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This left several journalists operating from outside Harare using 2019 accreditation cards.
“It is in this regard that the ZMC is appealing to all stakeholders to treat 2019 and 2020 accreditation cards as valid till the gazetting of the new fees and the resumption of accreditation,” ZMC said.
“The commission calls upon all stakeholders and security forces manning checkpoints to assist journalists and other media practitioners to carry out their duties without harm or harassment.
“The role of the media in the fight against Covid-19 cannot be overemphasised and the commission calls upon the media to diligently fulfil its duty by ‘not leaving anyone and any place behind’.”