BY STAFF REPORTER
THE United States has opened doors to foreign journalists, Zimbabwean media practitioners included, for international reporting tours after strict Covid-19 travel restrictions were lifted.
This was revealed by Liz Detmeister, a senior United States State Department official during a Twitter Spaces discussion on ‘Foreign Correspondents and Freedom of Speech’ hosted by the United States embassy on Wednesday.
“We found that virtual tours are an exceptional tool to engage with foreign media, but we are pleased that we are now able to resume in person programmes, and the journalists will once again be able to travel to the United States for international reporting tours,” Detmeister said.
Detmeister is the acting deputy assistant secretary for strategic messaging and international media strategy in the US State Department of State’s Bureau of Global Public Affairs.
She oversees domestic media operations and outreach to foreign audiences through the Department’s Foreign Press Centers (FPC) and International Media Hubs in Washington, New York, Miami, Manila, Dubai, Johannesburg, Brussels and London.
Detmeister said the FPC worked with the US Zimbabwe embassy to select participating journalists on tours.
Several Zimbabwean journalists have participated in the reporting tours.
“The United States has long recognised that allowing media from other countries to report on events in the United States ensures that accurate and timely information is available to shape a better understanding of US culture, policy, and society,” said Detmeister.
A Zimbabwean journalist based in the United States, Pearl Matibe, hailed the FPC for opening doors to enable her access to sources which have enabled her to file stories for media in Zimbabwe and South Africa.
“They have provided me with direct access to a bona fide source within the realm of the US foreign policy imperative and granted that imperatives can shift depending on who is President of the United States or changes depending on who holds the keys or who is Secretary of state,” Matibe said.
“They have had a tremendous impact on African audiences where America’s policies and actions have taken on increased importance over the past decade.”