ZIMBABWE and Australia are keen to strengthen cooperation in different sectors, including the media, which will ensure free-flow of information between the two countries.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said this on Wednesday.
She was speaking soon after meeting with the new Australian ambassador to Zimbabwe, Minoli Tehani Perera, who had paid her a courtesy call at her Munhumutapa offices in the capital.
“We have been talking about how to grow the media industry, which is within my mandate and what we have been discussing here is cooperation to make sure that there is free-flow of information between our two
countries,” she said.
Minister Mutsvangwa said for the two countries to develop, to increase engagement in various fields such as mining or agriculture, there is need for the dissemination of correct information.
She said a lot of negative publicity has been peddled about the country and as the 2023 harmonised elections draw closer, journalists from Australia are free to come and see for themselves, the situation on the
ground and to also cover the plebiscite.
“Zimbabweans, naturally are peaceful and we continue to promote peace before, during and after elections, and so we will be working continuously together.
“Benchmarking is a very important thing. As a ministry there is a lot we can learn from them and I am sure when they come to Zimbabwe, they will also learn a lot,” she said.
Mutsvangwa said it was her desire to see the media industry grow, hence the need for investment in the sector in order to improve the welfare of journalists, which her Ministry is concerned about.
She revealed that their discussion had also focused on what the Second Republic is doing to ensure that it brings every citizen on board in the development trajectory of the country, which includes media reforms, the licensing of community radio stations, which had not happened in the past 42 years.
“We have also spoken about the need for Australian investors to look at Zimbabwe as a partner, not as a begging bowl country,” she explained.
“We have got minerals, a lot of them, we have got human resources in this country and we have a lot of investors in Australia,” she said, adding that Zimbabwe is excited that oil samples taken to Australia by Invictus mining company in Muzarabani had tested positive.
Speaking at the same occasion, Perera said in addition to information dissemination, her country also seeks cooperation in other areas including agriculture and science.
Australia imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 in sympathy of its Western allies the United Kingdom and the United States from whose white kith and kin the Government had expropriated some farms for
redistribution to the previously disenfranchised black majority.
It relaxed the embargo in 2012 and over the years it has been softening its stance towards the government, which has also pursued a policy of engagement and re-engagement.