National Assembly Speaker Jacob Mudenda on Wednesday upbraided Monica Mutsvangwa, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services over the absence of both state and private media during sitting.
Mudenda raised the issue of the absence of the Fourth Estate from Parliament during the question-and-answer session.
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Mutsvangwa said she was not aware of journalists’ whereabouts and directed Mudenda to his clerks within the National Assembly.
However, Mudenda reminded the minister of the importance of media coverage on proceedings in the House. He said:
Minister, today is members’ day just like it is tomorrow Thursday.
The message from this House and the Senate must go to the people through the media. We are not quite happy with the sluggish manner in which ZBC in particular covers this House and the Senate.
The message must go out there; policy issues from honourable ministers must go out there and can only do so through the media, both public and private.
This is the importance of the fourth estate in any country.
Parliament resumed business on Tuesday but members of the media who had turned up to cover proceedings were turned away.
The journalists were told to follow proceedings through parliament’s Zoom platform due to the coronavirus restrictions.
On Wednesday, reporters were told that a negative COVID-19 certificate was a pre-requisite for getting into the parliament building.