The media in Zimbabwe remains toxic in a way that affects the country’s image, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Deputy Minister, Kindness Paradza has said.
Paradza said this Tuesday in the National Assembly while presenting a ministerial statement in response to the Report of the Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services on the state of the media in Zimbabwe.
“It is unfortunate that our media is still toxic,” decried Paradza.
“There is rampant polarisation in our media sector and this is affecting our national image as a country. In some instances, professionalism as we know it has gone to the dogs.”
He further said: “Professional conduct of some of the practitioners has been compromised due to undue influence from both political and business players, resulting in subjective reporting instead of being objective. In some cases, our journalists have fallen victim to those with money and have been bribed with khaki envelopes.”
He said in order to promote sanity within the media industry, this administration is also drafting, together with the relevant stakeholders, the proposed Media Practitioners’ Bill.
“This bill is meant to protect professional journalists from chancers, pretenders, and impostors’ who have polluted the media landscape masquerading as professional media practitioners,” said Paradza.
“In addition, we are currently seized with a raft of amendments to the Broadcasting Services Act for it to be in sync with international best practices.”
He said it was unfortunate that 42 years after independence Zimbabwe still does not have a National Employment Council (NEC) for journalists.
“We do not have the National Employment Council for the media industry,” bemoaned Paradza.
“This has been like that since independence. We have been clamouring for this. However, our problem in this country is that the media is sort of disjointed. They wanted to do this and even during my time, we wanted to do it through the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists but you find that sometimes there were no takers.” He added: “You need to have the employers, the employees, and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists come together so that they form the NEC. We do not have a grouping NEC for the employers themselves. They are disjointed but I agree with you. This is one of the recommendations which we are going to deal with and see to it that it is implemented.”