Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) is a network of media associations in Zimbabwe formed to strategically unite their impact in terms of joint local and international advocacy about the media crisis in the country and media policy reforms. It also serves as a key locus for strategy discussions among Zimbabwean organizations.
Formed and established in 2012, the MAZ is an alliance of media support organizations including the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe chapter), Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (ZINEF), Gender and Media Connect (GMC), the Media Centre, the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS), the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and the African Community Publishing Development Trust (ACPDT). MAZ work focuses on four key areas which are:
- Freedom of Expression
- Right to Information
- Media Freedom
- Media Law and policy Reform
The core activities of MAZ centre around the coordination of local and regional lobby and advocacy on freedom of expression and the media and include, advocacy for media law and policy reform; Regional advocacy initiatives; Constitutional reform; the Right to Information campaign, and the media reform discussion series. As such, the MAZ strategic areas for the years 2015-2018 are as follows:
- Media Policy and Legislative Review in line with the new Constitution
- Promotion of media plurality and diversity.
- Strengthening professionalism and ethics in the media.
- Creation of safe, equitable and enabling working conditions in the media sector.
The first strategy document was finalised in June 2007 and based on several missions to Zimbabwe during which most of the beneficiary organizations were consulted on the media crisis and about a strategy of support that could meet their needs. The Zimbabwean organizations indicated that they would welcome a comprehensive Media Strategy for Zimbabwe in which the combined force of various donors could be used for maximum results.
In this present revision of the strategy, an extensive review of literature from conference reports, programme documents, strategic resolutions to other relevant materials from media organizations was undertaken. This was particularly done to understand the current and topical issues media actors are seized with and are prioritizing as requiring strategic thinking and action upon. Beneficiary organizations to this strategy were also extensively consulted through a series of meetings as well as through receiving written and verbal comment on the draft of this document.
Further adjustments were also incorporated into the revised strategy following input from the 2013 Media Stakeholders’ Conference whose theme was “Zimbabwe’s Media, the Next five years: Democratisation and Expansion” and the Media Stakeholders Conference of 2014 whose objective was to analyze the prevailing media and political context in Zimbabwe as well as to identify the major strategies required to adequately respond to the issues in the media sector.