The Zimbabwe Media Commission has threatened to take plausible action against perpetrators of sexual harassment in the media industry following reports that it has become rampant in sector, with prominent practitioners like Robson Mhandu and Scott Matengambiri being on the spotlight for the offense.
In a statement, ZMC said it is deeply concerned about the reports of sexual harassment and sexual abuse which they said is now endemic and deeply entrenched in the media industry.
The organization said it will no longer turn a blind eye to the scourge plaguing newsrooms and various media houses in Zimbabwe.
“The ZMC is calling for zero tolerance to the scourge irrespective of the position, class, status and gender of the perpetrators. As the Regulator of the Media Industry in Zimbabwe, ZMC shall Not turn a blind eye to the cancer that threatens to destroy the industry. The ZMC urges stakeholders and partners to hold immediate disciplinary hearings following the immediate suspension of the alleged perpetrators so as to make room for unfettered investigations outside the intimidation of alleged victims.
“The ZMC urges survivors to report any violations and harassment to their organizations’ sexual harassment committees, immediate authorities, or to any preferred entity within the media sector as well as victim friendly unit or the ZRP along with the Zimbabwe Gender Commission. As part of its continual efforts to professionalize the media industry as well as create safe workspaces for all our practitioners and stakeholders, the ZMC looks forward to adoption and launching of its Draft Sexual Harassment Policy that has zero tolerance for any form of sexual abuse,” reads the statement.
The organization said it will not tolerate false reports of sexual harassment, and said they will propagate disciplinary action on those found fueling falsehoods.
“ZMC will not tolerate false reporting of sexual misconduct and harassment in the media fraternity. Should it be found that an individual has falsely accused another of sexual harassment, disciplinary proceedings are to be immediately held, paving way for the suspension of the individual propagating falsehoods. Any false report must also be accompanied by a public apology as such allegations can seriously harm one’s professional and social standing, thus the ZMC will not be seen to be tolerating such malicious behavior,” reads the statement.
The media regulator recently launched a draft policy against sexual harassment to professionalize the media industry.