Zimpapers Journalists sent on forced leave

HARARE, – The Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers), the publisher of The Herald and Chronicle newspapers, has reportedly sent several journalists on forced leave due an acute shortage of newsprint and foreign currency.

Zimpapers’ daily newspapers – The Chronicle and The Herald – have resorted to publishing as little as four eight-page editions since October last year.

The thin editions have reduced the newspaper company’s bottom line significantly due to limited space for advertisements.

Zimpapers reportedly failed to pay its workers in foreign currency in January despite assurances by the company’s chief executive officer Justin Mutasa that journalists would be paid in hard currency. The company is now selling its newspapers in foreign currency.

The affected journalists were served with letters informing them that all staffers who had accumulated more than 20 leave days would have to go on leave since there was nothing to do due to the thin editions.

“We were taken by surprise when we served with letters informing us that we should go on leave because we had nothing much to do due to thin editions. The company also suspects that some of the jouralists are abusing company resources by moonlighting for online publications," said an affected journalist.

A marketing executive at the company said advertisers were demanding explanations as to why booked advertisements had this week failed to make it into the newspapers.

ADDITIONAL REPORT: Radiovop