Bribery killing journalism, says Shamu

webster_shamu2HARARE - Information and publicity minister Webster Shamu (Pictured) has accused Zimbabwean journalists of taking bribes.

Shamu told members of the newly constituted Zimbabwe Media Commission at a workshop on Monday that certain reporters were not averse to taking financial rewards to produce positive news reports on individuals and organisations. Others were taking bribes to conceal information, he said, while others were taking bribes to publicly lynch some individuals or organisations.

The minister said there were far too many puff pieces and it was one of the reasons readership and viewership were so low. Nyaya yemabrown enveleopes yakuvadza vakomana vangu (The issue of brown envelopes has inflicted my fellow journalists), Shamu said. We can read between the lines, when we watch the news or read newspapers, we can see that pava nenyaya apa (there is something behind this). Let our journalists honestly discharge their duty.

Shamu attributed the practice of taking bribes to journalists who were not well trained, and urged the new ZMC to exercise diligence in the registration of journalists and to ensure that they complied with the countrys laws. Shamu said bribery was killing journalism in Zimbabwe. The workshop was attended by media commissioners former ZBC chief executive officer Henry Muradzikwa, ZMC chairman Godfrey Majonga, ZMC chief officer Tafataona Mahoso, ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa, media parliamentary committee chair Gift Chimanikire, and Zimpaperschief officer Justin Mutasa.

Shamu, a former radio journalist, slammed the crony journalism, and said the standard practice was that journalist should never accept gifts. However, some media houses in Zimbabwe did not seem to have documented policies against journalists accepting gifts. Shamu said the ZMC must investigate allegations of bribery and if any journalist was found guilty, they should be struck off the roll and their membership permanently revoked.

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