Zimdaily.com slammed for plagiarism

By Our Correspondent
HARARE -While Zimbabwe-related online news agencies are important in filling the information gap created by the regime's repressive media laws, the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) has slammed one agency, Zimdaily.com, for plagiarism.
MMPZ said that in the we

ek August 21-27, Zimdaily.com lifted some five stories from other publications and simply presented them as its own. On August 21, the agency lifted verbatim two stories on the currency change over that had appeared the previous week in the Mail and Guardian and Zimbabwe Independent.
On the same day the website also stole from the Cape Argus a story about civic groups’ concern over the failure of a SADC summit in Maseru to censure Robert Mugabe. Later in the week, Zimdaily.com ran word-for-word a substantial part of a ZimObserver report on Zimbabwe buying Chinese fighter planes. Similarly, said MMPZ, a story on a rally by the Arthur Mutambara MDC faction was largely lifted from a report by Peta Thornycroft which appeared on VOANEWS.COM.
Plagiarism -giving the impression that somebody else’s work is your own -violates journalistic ethics.
“Such unprofessional conduct gives the authorities an excuse to retain their tyrannical media laws, which they have used to either silence the private media or stifle the establishment of alternative sources of information,” said the media watchdog.
Elsewhere, the state-run media’s efforts to avoid reporting on, let alone investigating, anything that portrays the regime in a bad light led to fresh distortions and contradictions.
Despite reporting symptoms of the chaos in the currency changeover, such as businesses refusing to accept old notes on the eve of the changeover or the critical shortage of small denominations in the new currency, the state mouthpieces continued more or less celebrating the changeover.
Thus The Herald reported on its front-page that in some cases armed police were called in to maintain order, while claiming in commentary a that the exercise went “remarkably smoothly.” Just a few local problems which were, as ever, the fault of someone else, anyone else. In this case, The Herald cited “laziness by some bank managers in some branches and the desperate desire of Zimbabweans to keep large sums of cash at home.”
Even when Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono acknowledged that all was not well, the state media shied away. The Herald and The Chronicle saw the extension of the currency changeover deadline in rural areas not as reflection of the chaos, but passively quoted Gono as seeing himself as magnanimous.
MMPZ noted the state media also made no attempt to square Gono’s claim that the changeover was a success with his revelation that $10 trillion (about 22% of the total cash in circulation) was still unaccounted for after the August deadline.
The private media, however, highlighted the inconveniences and the gloomy outlook. The Daily Mirror said that the authorities had already printed more new bank notes dated March 2006 which Gono threatened to introduce at 24 hours’ notice.
However, only Studio 7, SW Radio Africa and ZimDaily reported the arrests in Bulawayo of 200 women from Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) for demonstrating against the economic mess.
Commented MMPZ: “None of the mainstream media appeared to consider this effort to prevent the women from exercising their right to express themselves a newsworthy event.”

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