via RadioVop Zimbabwe – No Complaints Against H-Metro, B-Metro:VMCZ 31 January 2015 by Amos Maseko
Zimbabwe’s private media have been found to be publishing the most offending stories with the Daily News topping the list of complaints made against local papers by mostly private citizens.
A report just released by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) depicts that 11 of a total 33 complaints made against local papers and radio stations between September 2013 and September 2014 were against the privately owned paper.
“Most of the complaints filed during the period under review were against the conduct of the privately owned daily newspapers,” reads the VMCZ report, which was launched in Harare Thursday.
The Daily News’s main competitor, Newsday followed a distant second with five complaints against it while the Herald, the flagship paper among state controlled publications, ironically had two complaints filed against during the entire year. The Chronicle, its sister publication, had a single complaint against it.
Says the VMCZ report: “Notably, no complaints were received against tabloids such as H-Metro and B-Metro.
“However, lack of complaints against the tabloids during this time cannot be read as a sign of public satisfaction with the ethical and professional conduct of these media. Rather it can suggest public resignation to the way these media operate and a sense of futility in complaints against them among other possible explanations.”
Of those who filed complaints against the local media, 14 were private citizens while seven were church leaders and other prominent personalities.
Civil society organisations weighed in with three complaints, with the rest coming from business, government institutions and lawyers.
Among those who made complaints against the local press were the then Energy Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire, who took issue with a September 3, 2014 Zimbabwe Independent story which suggested he abused his powers to write off electricity bills owed to the country’s power utility, ZESA, by a Zanu PF faction he belonged to.
Tendai Biti of the MDC Renewal Team also took matters with the Daily News early last year after the paper alleged he had teamed up with Zanu PF and Western donors to cause anarchy within the opposition MDC-T.
Speaking during the launch of the document Thursday, William Dhewa, who chairs parliaments’ portfolio committee on media, information and broadcasting services called for a wider distribution of VMCZ publications to create awareness among the greater public and scholars as this will allow them to “interact and engage constructively in efforts to improve media professionalism in the country”.
He added: “I want to appeal to media organisations to reflect on the recommendations from the various reports launched today and action positive aspects of the recommendations in order to improve the quality of media reportage in the country.
“Despite our diversity, l am hopeful that we will be able through open dialogue and critical analysis to revitalise efforts towards achieving the professional and ethical standards that we aspire to be.”