ZIMBABWE Mass Media Trust (ZMMT) is revamping the national news agency New Ziana and community newspapers in its stable to ensure a cross section of Zimbabweans have access to verified and accurate news.
ZMMT is mandated to oversee operations of media organisations where the Government has significant shareholding.
In an interview, the newly appointed ZMMT executive secretary Mr Ray Mungoshi who is also a former Editor of The Herald, said the revival of New Ziana was critical in information circulation and telling the Zimbabwean story abroad.
“The ZMMT became moribund towards the end of the old order but the New Dispensation has come in and rolled out a gamut of reforms aimed at opening up the media industry and making it responsive to modern exigencies.
“We are reviving Ziana, Kingstons and our eight community newspapers to reprise our role as leaders in disseminating information in Zimbabwe. We want our folks in rural areas who are either not computer savvy or have no access to the internet because of various constraints, to participate in national discourse. They too, must be heard,” he said.
The ZMMT was established soon after independence after the Government bought the majority of shares in Zimbabwe Newspapers, a company that owned all major newspapers in the country. The ZMMT was established by Government in 1981 to oversee the operations of news organisations owned by the State.
The trust’s role was to promote, through an independent board of non-government individuals, the interests of ordinary Zimbabweans in the national media, which included the Zimbabwe Inter-Africa News Agency (Ziana), now rechristened New Ziana.
Mr Mungoshi said news consumers now sourced news from social media which was notorious for peddling unverified information.
“The ZMMT, through Ziana and the community newspapers, sit at the heart of the media landscape in this country. Our mandate is therefore to ensure that the media milieu is restored to the status quo ante the switch from Ziana to New Ziana.
“But we will execute this mandate mindful of the technological changes that have greatly altered the way news is gathered, packaged and distributed. We aim to publish newspapers that are relevant to the modern era, that respond to current national and international trends.
“Everyone must be able to consume news. We want to rebuild the various organisations within the ZMMT to serve our people diligently to foster national unity and development,” Mr Mungoshi said.
The trust owns a 51 percent stake in Zimpapers, publishers of The Herald, The Sunday Mail, The Chronicle, The Sunday News, The Manica Post, Kwayedza, Umthunywa, H-Metro, several radio stations and Zimpapers Television News (ZTN). ZMMT also wholly owns Kingstons and New Ziana.