Zimbabwe’s prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a “new culture of respect” that would allow foreign journalists to report freely from the troubled southern African nation.
The veteran opposition leader, who formed a coalition with president Robert Mugabe in February, said he deplored recent arrests of journalists.
In a news conference yesterday, he said a new state media commission would be formed to “facilitate the opening up of media space”.
Stringent licensing of local and foreign journalists that effectively banned most foreign news organisations from entering the country had ceased to apply under the coalition agreement, he said.
Tsvangirai said journalists and media organisations are no longer legally obliged to apply for accreditation until a new media commission is in place.
While organisations including the BBC were banned from entering the country – many reporters sneak in unofficially – others have been deterred by licensing fees in the tens of the thousands of US dollars.
“There’s no reason why these news agencies and groups should not be in the country,” Tsvangirai added.