Speaking at a public meeting organized by Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Media, Information, Publicity, Communication and Technology to collect public views on the state of the public media in Zimbabwe, members of the public accused the Herald and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) of biased reporting.
“We wonder what this Global Political Agreement (GPA) is all about. Because it is a one sided affair when it comes to coverage of issues. Why should the President be required to appoint the ZBC board, that should stop unless if there are some ulterior motives. There must be interviews and those suitable should simply take up the jobs,” said Kurai Madzonga, of FEBA Radio Zimbabwe.
Indigenous businessman, Paddington Japajapa, told the meeting that despite the existence of an inclusive government the state media has decided to take sides. “The state media has decided to become the mouthpiece of Zanu PF yet it is supposed to be a platform for the voiceless. Pikirayi Deketeke and Caesar Zvayi are continuing to feed this nation with propaganda and rubbish continuing to pour vitriol and scorn even on the office of the Prime Minister.
These people are a shame,” said Japajapa.
“Parliament must with immediate effect make some changes at ZBC and Herald if the GPA is to work,” said Japajapa.
The parliamentary committee was represented by its chairman, Gift Chimanikire and Bright Matonga. A young high school girl, Precious Chidhuku told the meeting: “ZBC should not be collecting any license fees from Zimbabweans because it is not providing any service. I can’t watch ZBC because there is nothing to watch. If I had my own house I would not pay any license fees. It is so pathetic that it makes many of us young people dislike our country.”
Another member of the public who identified himself as Joseph Muchena lashed out at senior ZBC and Herald journalists, saying they have no place in the profession.
“These people are practicing what can best be called gutter or under the tree journalism, whether they are doing it for Mugabe or whoever, we just want to tell them that the time shall come when we will deal with them because these are the last kicks of a dying horse,” said Muchena. He was referring to the Herald’s Caesar Zvayi, Sunday Mail’s Munyaradzi Huni and ZBC’s Reuben Barwe and Judith Makwanya.
Another participant claimed he had evidence that the news from the Herald were first vetted at the Ministry of Information before published.
Another Harare resident asked Parliament to consider moving a motion for the full privatization of ZBC and Herald, saying the government had no business in running media organizations.
Chimanikire promised that his committee will bring change to the country’s media landscape.
“We will ensure that we bring change in the media,” said Chimanikire. (Article orginally published by RadioVOP)