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ACTING Information Minister Simon Khaya Moyo yesterday cautioned journalists against getting entrapped into partisan politics, saying scribes must ‘leave politics to political parties.”
Addressing participants to the UNESCO-funded World Press Freedom Day celebrations at the Harare Polytechnic, Moyo said the media legislative reform and pluralism agenda was work in progress.
“Let us steer clear from the old snare of media polarisation which seeks to entrap our media into joining partisan politics,” Moyo said.
“Let us leave politics to the political parties and we have over 124 of them in the country and more may still emerge to contest the forthcoming harmonised elections, and let us be professional journalists and demonstrate not only to the outside world but to ourselves in the run-up to the elections that we are not partisan.”
Moyo said it was ironical that some journalists were trading their pens for politics, and after taking part in the political game and losing; they go back to work again as journalists.
He said the absence of community radio stations continued to attract animated discourse with a strong suspicion that government was deliberately dragging its feet on liberalising the airwaves.
Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum (Zinef) chairperson Dumisani Muleya also blasted scribes who participated in the just-ended Zanu PF primary elections, saying journalists needed to be impartial.
“Journalists should not be embedded in factions or political parties. Those journalists that participated in the Zanu PF primary elections were a disgrace because journalists are supposed to be impartial and keep politicians in check. They cannot represent politicians, and whoever wants to delve into politics should quit journalism,” Muleya said.
He said while the new political dispensation claimed to have ushered in a semblance of media freedom, oddly there have been arrests of scribes, and they must be careful of the false sense of security.
Patience Zirima of Media Monitors Zimbabwe and the Gender Media Connect said 94% of media coverage was about Zanu PF and the MDC-T while small political parties were largely being ignored.
She said the State media was giving 80% of its coverage to Zanu PF, and only 12% to the opposition MDC-T, and a measly 1% to less known opposition parties.