Media pros urged to lead by example

Source: The Herald – Breaking news.

Media pros urged to lead by example 
Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Journalism Educators Network (ZIJEN) in Masvingo last Friday, Mr Mangwana said journalism standards need to be raised.

Lingani Nyika in MASVINGO

MEDIA professionals should lead by example and maintain the highest levels of journalistic integrity, the Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana, has said. 

Speaking at the launch of the Zimbabwe Journalism Educators Network (ZIJEN) in Masvingo last Friday, Mr Mangwana said journalism standards need to be raised.

ZIJEN is part of collaborative efforts between Government and the media sector to restore Zimbabwe’s journalism standards and promote a transparent and accountable environment for both professionals and the public.

It is an organisation that seeks to bring together educators and media stakeholders to contribute towards shaping the journalism landscape in the country. It aims to provide a platform for educators to have a voice in policy and decision-making processes, ensuring that journalism remains competitive.

The organisation was formed by three prominent institutions, Great Zimbabwe University, National University of Science and Technology and the Harare Polytechnic, which recognised the need for collaboration and a united front in addressing the complex issues facing the journalism industry.

“We believe that when you interact as professionals you benchmark and raise standards. The core of the objective is the standard of journalism, which right now we do not believe is where it should be,” said Mr Mangwana.

He highlighted several concerning trends in the industry, including one-sided reporting and the lack of opportunity for those written about to respond or clarify their positions. 

Mr Mangwana also spoke about the prevalence of “desktop journalism”, where outlets pull information from social media without seeking direct input from the source.

“We have seen a lot of news, which is published without giving the other person the right to reply and a lot of desktop journalism, where people just go on X or Facebook and extract a post there and write a story, without asking the author of that post to expand on what they were trying to say,” he said.

“That speaks to the standards of journalism going down, not citizen journalism, but professional journalists, a person earning a living out of journalism.” 

To address the challenges, the ministry was calling on professionals in the journalism industry to collaborate with educators and other stakeholders to drive innovation and propose policy changes that would elevate media standards. 

“We will support lecturers when they come up with different innovative ideas to uplift the industry, policy-wise, and take the policy suggestions from them on board and incorporate them in our policy thrust,” said Mr Mangwana.

Speaking at the launch, ZIJEN president Mr Golden Maunganidze said the organisation was a unifying force for journalism educators as they took a proactive role in shaping the industry’s future.

“For a long time, we were guilty of allowing ourselves to take a back bench, when our voices were critically needed in shaping policies, frameworks and laws for our journalism fraternity,” he said. 

“This is, therefore, a statement of intent towards an all-round educator, who discharges his duties in the classroom and remains engaged in the broader environment through engagement with other stakeholders, with the aim of ensuring that the journalism ecosystem remains competitive.”

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