via Adapt or sink, Mandiwanzira tells media | The Herald November 28, 2013
INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister Supa Mandiwanzira yesterday said the Government was concerned with the welfare of journalists and was working on efforts to improve their conditions of service.Speaking during the on-going Government-civic society conference in Bulawayo, Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira said improving the welfare of media personnel was critical towards enhancing professionalism in the fraternity.
“The issue of salaries for journalists is a problem across the media in Zimbabwe and that has given rise to the culture of brown envelops where journalists are paid to write certain stories,” said the minister.
He added: “We are worried about the welfare of journalists and have tasked the Zimbabwe Media Commission to look into the issue and give us appropriate recommendations.
“We are engaging the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) to set up an NEC for journalists. We are also working on a programme to see if journalists can get residential stands through the Ministry of Local Government.”
Deputy Minister Mandiwanzira urged media practitioners to move ahead, embrace modern and professional standards of practicing and shun polarisation.
He said professionalism and objective engagement on issues rather than cheap propaganda and sensationalism, was critical towards building a vibrant media in Zimbabwe .
“If you spew propaganda and politics you will not be commercially viable. Zanu-PF and President Mugabe headlines are no longer selling.
People are tired of these things and those who do that will soon be out of business,” said the deputy minister.
The ministry was working on opening up airwaves, a move that would increase competition and enhance quality productions.
He said the Government, through the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, was expected to invite applications for the setting up of community radio stations before the end of the year and acknowledged concerns over high licence fees for the applicants and said his ministry would look into the issue with a view of reducing them to attract investment by new players.
The deputy minister said Government was committed to aligning all legislation governing the media with the new constitution and repeal laws that impede journalists from fulfilling their mandate.
The move comes at a time when the Government has agreed to decriminalise defamation.
He said self regulation was critical towards enhancing professionalism and urged journalists to come up with their own code of conduct to regulate malpractice.
The new constitution guarantees a positive future for the media and urged journalists to uphold its provisions, especially the promotion of the founding national values and nation building.
Speaking at the same occasion, policy analyst Mr Qhubani Moyo urged media practitioners to increase their reach by adopting the use of modern information and communication technologies to promote active citizen participation.
The Dean of the Faculty of Information and Communication Science at the National University of Science and Technology, Dr Lawton Hikwa, said professionalism was of paramount importance for the media to fulfil its obligation as the Fourth Estate.
He said professional standards would weed out problems such as hate speech, defamation and all forms of discrimination.