Functions of Media Complaints Committee
The Media Complaints Committee (MCC) is guided by a desire to promote and protect a set of common professional standards of conduct for media practitioners, media institutions, media owners and publishers, and to provide all parties, including members of the public, with an adequate opportunity to obtain a redress where there has been a violation of the Code.
The MCC will consider a complaint by any individual and/or institution concerning possible breach/es of the Code by any media practitioner, media institution, media owner or publisher in Zimbabwe, whether a member of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe or not.
Independence of Media Complaints Committee
The MCC is independently constituted and will carry out its mandate and functions with complete impartiality. Authority of Media Complaints Committee Media practitioners, media institutions, media owners and publishers have voluntarily bound themselves to the Code in their desire to ensure voluntary regulation of the media profession.
The authority of the MCC rests in the willingness of media practitioners, media institutions, media owners and publishers to cooperate fully with the MCC and to accept and respect its adjudications, irrespective of the outcome thereof. Where a media practitioner, media institution, media owner or publisher has agreed to be bound by the Code and has submitted to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Committee, the adjudication of the MCC will be final and binding.
Informal Nature of Procedure of Media Complaints Committee
The MCC places a strong emphasis on the speedy, cost-effective and informal resolution of complaints, wherever possible. Preliminary Requirements in Complaints Procedure. Where a complainant alleges that there has been violation/s of the Code, and the complaint cannot reasonably be said to be frivolous and vexatious, s/he is first encouraged to take reasonable steps to resolve the matter amicably with the media practitioner, media institution, media owner or publisher concerned by writing a letter of complaint and/or speaking to the media practitioner, head of the media. Institution, media owner or publisher concerned to request an explanation and/or clarification and/or correction of the alleged violation of the Code. Where such action is unsuccessful in resolving the complaint, the complainant may then approach the MCC for assistance.
Lodging a Complaint
Within thirty (30) days of the date of the alleged violation of the Code, the complainant must complete the Complaint Form, clearly and succinctly stating the following:
- the name of the complainant;
- her/his/its full contact details;
- the name of the media practitioner, media institution, media owner or publisher against whom the complaint is directed;
- the date/s of publication and/or broadcast;
- the page number of the publication, together with the edition (in the case of a major metropolitann
- ewspapers), or the time of broadcast;
- the main points of complaint;
- the provision/s of the Code which is/are alleged to have been violated.
The complainant must make a cutting or a clear photocopy or a recording (where available) of the material which is alleged to have breached the Code and enclose this with the Complaint Form.
The complainant must send the complaint to the Executive Director by post, facsimile or electronic mail. Even when not provided initially, the complainant will be required to complete the Complaint Form, so that the MCC has a clear understanding of what the complainant sees as the main areas of concern.
A complainant who makes a complaint more than thirty (30) days after the initial publication or broadcast must explain the delay, and give reasons why the complaint is one of those rare, special cases where the thirty-day guideline should be waived. In these circumstances, the Executive Director will have discretion as to whether to accept or reject the complaint.
Lodging of complaints by legal practitioner
As the procedure is designed to be a speedy, inexpensive and informal means of redress for violations of the Code, the MCC will not accept the direct involvement of a legal practitioner in the complaints procedure and a legal practitioner will not be entitled to appear before the Complaints MCC to represent his or her client.
Where a complaint has been lodged by a legal practitioner acting on behalf of a client, the Executive Director will request that the legal practitioner ensures that the correspondence is passed on to the complainant and that the latter be responsible for dealing with the matter.
The only exception will be where the legal practitioner is representing the interests of a child who is alleging breaches of the code. Procedure on receipt of complaint Procedure on receipt of complaint.