BULAWAYO – Supa Mandiwanzira the Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services has said poor salaries for journalists in Zimbabwe have “given rise to the culture of brown envelopes where journalists are paid to write certain stories.”
Mandiwanzira was speaking at the ongoing Government-civic society conference in Bulawayo. “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,” he said.
“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.”
The Nyanga South MP called for professionalism saying, “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.
Despite this rhetoric, critics say the state owned but Zanu PF controlled media continues to operate exactly along those lines of vilifying anyone in the opposition or offering a different view to Zanu PF and President Robert Mugabe.
The broadcast media monopolised by Mandiwanzira’s party also continues to be unprofessional and one-sided in its coverage something that has motivated Harare West MDC-T MP Jessie Majome to take the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to the Constitutional Court for demanding licence fees while serving the interests of one political party.