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Zimbabwe Parliament Winnows Down Field for New Media Commission

The Zimbabwean Parliament advanced its media reform agenda Monday by setting a short list of 12 candidates for a new Media Commission, in the process declining to include the former chairman of the much-maligned - and now defunct - Media and Information Commission.

The New Zimbabwe Web site said finalists included former Daily News Editor in Chief Nqobile Nyathi, journalist-turned-lawyer Chris Mhike, former Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation CEO Henry Muradzikwa and Zimbabwe Union of Journalists President Mathew Takaona.

Also short-listed: Rino Zhuwarara, a media lecturer, Wabata Munodawafa, a former editor of the state-run ZIANA news agency, former central bank publicist Millicent Mombeshora, former journalist and clergyman Useni Sibanda, freelance journalist Miriam Madziwa, former radio-TV Godfrey Majonga, Clemence Mabaso and publisher Roger Stringer.

The House Committee on Rules and Order publicly interviewed 27 candidates selected from a field of nearly 130 nominees to the Zimbabwe Media Commission as well as the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, among them many journalists and media advocates.

Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported on the hearing.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa described as "disturbing" the inclusion of former MIC Chairman Tafataona Mahoso among those heard by the committee.

Some in Zimbabwe call Mahoso the "media hangman" because he shut down the Daily News in 2003 and in many other ways curtailed press freedom during his tenure.

But Mahoso's candidacy did not survive the cut resulting in the short list of 12 nominees for the Media Commission which is to be forwarded to President Robert Mugabe.

Advocacy Officer Tabani Moyo of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that that this reflected a flawed selection process that should have brought in media groups.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...