UN in Zimbabwe Trains 24 Media Personnel on Development and Humanitarian Reporting

The United Nations in Zimbabwe organized a media training workshop on development and humanitarian reporting from 27-29 August in Masvingo. The training brought together 24 editors and journalists from the print and electronic media as well as public and private media houses in Zimbabwe. The workshop was also attended by 18 members of the UNCG.

During the workshop, Marcelin Hepie, acting UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator said that the United Nations recognizes the media as an instrumental advocacy tool to influence policy and public opinion. He said that the support of the United Nations to media freedom emanates from Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of opinion and expression”. The acting Resident Coordinator encouraged the participating journalists to remain professional and objective. 

In his opening remark, Retired Major Anywhere Mutambudzi, Director of Urban Communications Services in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity said Government attaches great value to the role of the media in promoting development and the wellbeing of the people. He said the government was working on revamping communication structures to reach both urban and rural communities. He acknowledged the contribution of the UN in promoting development in Zimbabwe. He underscored that the media should take advantage of the training workshop and to develop an objective frame of reportage on development and humanitarian issues.

On behalf of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion, Leonard Mandishora, Deputy Director-Research at the Ministry gave an overview of the development context in Zimbabwe from 2008 – 2012 and future projections. He explained that the Government launched the Medium Term Plan (2011-2015) to bring about economic restoration and transformation of the country’s productive capacities to achieve sustainable economic growth. Mandishara acknowledged media coverage of development issues has strong impact on economic development if harnessed properly.

During the three day workshop participants agreed for media to increase coverage of development processes in the country rather than events and on issues instead of reporting about personalities. It was further agreed that the United Nations and Media to engage each other and establish good working relationships to ensure that development and humanitarian issues get adequate coverage.

In line with the forgoing, a UN-Media Action Plan was developed outlining story lines from the Zimbabwe United Nations Development Assistance Framework (2012-2015) for immediate media action to ensure coverage of humanitarian and development issues.  At the end of the training, participating editors and journalists visited UN supported programmes on community food security in Masvingo Province, which enabled them to get firsthand information on development and humanitarian projects.

Read the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator's Statement