ALPHA Media Holdings proprietor Mr Trevor Ncube yesterday felt embarrassed by a false report in one of his newspapers NewsDay and publicly apologised to Zimbabweans for the misinformation it published.
In its Tuesday edition, the NewsDay’s headline screamed, “RTGS$ to devalue further: RBZ”.
The story sensationally claimed the RBZ governor John Mangudya had told Parliament that Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) dollar — Zimbabwe’s local electronic currency — was likely to be devalued further by the time the tobacco auction floors open next week.
In a post on his Twitter handle, Mr Ncube posted: “My heart breaks that @NewsDayZimbabwe got this story so wrong. This is an example of our blind spots/biases colouring our world view contributing to polarisation. While I maintain my newspapers are not me/I am not my newspapers — I am embarrassed. Sincere apologies to Zimbabwe.”
In his post, Mr Ncube posted two newspapers banners — that of the Chronicle and NewsDay.
The Chronicle, a sister paper to The Herald, had a banner reading, “RTGS dollar to gain value” against the NewsDay’s “RTGS$ to devalue further: RBZ”, generating controversy about reportage.
Some pseudo media analysts were quick to label the Chronicle story as propaganda.
But Mr Ncube, in a moment of commendable candour put the matter to bed when he chided his newspaper.
It has become a tradition for privately-owned newspapers in Zimbabwe to paint a gloomy picture on the country’s economic prospects and a taboo to publish anything deemed to be painting the ruling Zanu-PF Government and its programmes in good light.
In January and February, the private media were part of an orchestrated campaign of beaming negative coverage, some of it contrived, to attract sanctions on Zimbabwe by the West.
For its part, NewsDay ran a story which included the fictitious detail that Tinashe Kaitano of Kadoma had been killed by security forces.