Tererai talks to writer and journalist Geoff Hill about the future of independent media in Zim, following reports that the Alpha Media Holdings and Associated Newspapers, as well as the state run Zimpapers and ZBC, have all retrenched workers and reduced wages. The report comes the same week that sees London based SW Radio Africa shutting down. Hill said the challenges faced by newspapers are global but in Zim, where the economy has collapsed, there is no advertising revenue. He also criticised Information Minister Jonathan Moyo saying he should resign and be exiled to Mongolia. Hill also lamented the closure of SW Radio Africa.
Archive for the 'Reporters Forum' Category
Blessing Vava from the pressure group, Committee of the People’s Charter, discusses the recent ruling by the Constitutional Court, which declared that two journalists cannot be charged with criminal defamation because that law is unconstitutional. The ruling was celebrated by the media community as a victory for press freedom but the Media Monitoring Project warned against these celebrations, saying the ruling applied to the old constitution and has no relevance to the new one. Vava said this confusion demonstrates how chaotic the law is, with ZANU PF deliberately delaying the re-alignment of laws to the new constitution.
Tererai is joined by freelance reporter Linda Mpofu in Gwanda, to discuss the latest in the ongoing Baba Jukwa investigations. This follows confirmation by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo that he had reported to the police as requested, to help clarify some issues in their case. Linda says powerful people like Moyo will never be prosecuted while the jails are full of ordinary, poor people who are arrested while trying make an honest living. She says people have lost interest in Jukwa because exposing him will not put bread and butter on their tables.
and Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme joins Tererai to discuss the ongoing chaos in the media sector. This follows reports that ZBC staff had walked out of a meeting with the Independent Media Panel of Inquiry, set up by Minister Jonathan Moyo, after blasting Moyo for ruining their lives. The workers cursed Moyo for cutting their salaries and said they work under impossible conditions. Saungweme, who attended briefings addressed by Moyo in Bulawayo this year, said the Minister always seems more interested in promoting his own image rather than helping the workers. Saungweme described the IMPI project as more window-dressing by Moyo, who wants to gain the image that he cares about media in Zimbabwe.
Tererai talks to Nhlanhla Ngwenya from MISA-Zimbabwe about the ongoing Baba Jukwa saga and the media panel that is costing the treasury $1.6 million. Ngwenya says Sunday Mail editor Edmund Kudzayi has admitted that he was working with security agents, which is a shocking thing for a journalist to say. Kudzayi said he was doing this to unmask Baba Jukwa. As for the media panel known as IMPI, Ngwenya says it’s gathering information to supposedly help shape media legislation, but the information is already in the public domain and it doesn’t need over a million dollars being spent.
Tererai is joined by reporter Francis Rwodzi to discuss developments in the media, after six of the 18 companies short-listed to receive local commercial radio licenses, withdrew their applications. Rwodzi said the process is extremely expensive and radio is not profitable in Zimbabwe. He said the lack of transparency in the process and the fact that only those with ZANU PF links received licenses influenced those who withdrew. Rwodzi also reports on the fact that many people at Bell Mine in the Midlands are failing to get birth certificates and ID’s, because they have no documents since their parents either perished in a local mine disaster or were murdered during the notorious Gukurahundi massacres.
Gift Mambipiri from the Zim Association of Community Radio Stations talks about the recent police raid at Radio Kwelaz in Kwekwe, where state agents confiscated laptops and thousands of CDs, falsely accusing them of broadcasting illegally. Mambipiri said this was the second time in a year the same accusations had been levelled at the station and it was an attempt to harass those who have been advocating for the licensing of community radio.
Chimanimani activist Peter Chanetsa reports on the closure of a mining company called DTZ-OZGEO, which mines diamonds at Charleswood Estates, the farm that was stolen from Roy Bennett. Chanetsa said the Zim-Russia co-ownership closed in February after failing to pay workers for 5 months. At least 150 workers are now unemployed. Another key Chimani employer, Border Timbers, has been downsizing and at least 100 workers were recently made redundant. Additionally the local Council, run by a ZANU PF appointee, has been rationing water even though there was excessive rainfall which destroyed crops this year. The locals blame this on mismanagement and a lack of political will.
Freelance journalist Linda Mpofu in Gwanda talks about this week’s biggest story, the beating of police by members of the Johanne Masowe ye Chishanu Apostolic sect. Linda says people celebrated the police getting a taste of their own medicine, but sadly the real story got lost, and that is the serious abuse of young girls and women by the sect, under the name of religion. She says they take girls barely thirteen years old out of school and marry them to old “madhara” who believe that sleeping with a virgin blesses them. Linda says the local media has not tackled these issues and what happens to the victims, which led police to attempt shutting down the Apostolic sect.
Foster Dongozi, secretary general of the Zim Union of Journalists talks to Tererai about the World Press Freedom Day march that finally took place in Harare on Friday, after riot police barred the original event planned for May 3rd. He said journalists, media practitioners, students and government dignitaries were in attendance as guest speakers tackled the issues affecting the media, including harassment of journalists, the need for legislative reforms, assistance with housing and the creation of a national Employment Council that would negotiate salaries and conditions of service.