Ncube who is the chairman of of Alpha Media Holdings and publisher of the Zimbabwe Independent, The Standard and News Day in Zimbabwe also said the African media should not be perceived as enemies of the states they operate in.
He was speaking at opening of the fourth African Media Leaders Forum here. Ncube is also the chairman of the African Media Initiative (AMI), the organisers of the forum, which brings together media owners, practitioners and investors annually.
“Sadly, as I address you, one of my journalists is in custody in Zimbabwe for writing a story about the police and I hope that this is not an attempt to induce fear among journalists who write boldly about any goings-on within the state security apparatus” said Ncube.
Nqobani Ndlovu,The Standard journalist in Bulawayo, was arrested on Wednesday morning over a story which alleged that the police had frozen promotion-related examinations in order to re-hire some of its retired members to assist in the monitoring of forthcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. His arrest followed that of News Day bureau chief and Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president Dumisani Sibanda over the same story. Sibanda who has since been released was questioned for over an hour. It has been alleged the police are hunting for The Standard editor Nevanji Madanhire over the same story.
Ncube called on banks and other funders to invest in the media in Africa in order to make it a viable and vibrant sector.
“As media organisations, we should undertake a serious audit of ourselves and ensure that we practise professional, ethical journalism, accountability and excellent leadership so that we become attractive and bankable entities,” he said.
Ncube’s News Day is so far the only newspaper to have hit the streets among the five which were licensed this year by the newly created Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).
Speaking at the same forum, the Cameroon Minister of Communication, Issa Tchiroma, told delegates that his country boasted of media diversity, with 600 newspapers, including six privately-owned dailies, 100 radio stations, 12 television and six satellite stations.
He challenged the forum to make a strong resolution about how the African media should deal with matters of ethical journalism and social responsibility in a world where technological advancements resulted in the instant dissemination of information.
The forum is being attended by over 200 delegates, including media owners, media practitioners and financial institutions from Africa, Europe and United States under the theme “Funding African Media in an age of uncertain business models”.
The High Court is on Friday expected to hear the case of arrested Standard newspaper journalist Nqobani Ndlovu.
The urgent chamber application is meant to compel the police to bring Ndlovu, who spent his second day in cells on Friday night, to court.
Ndlovu was arrested on Wednesday in Bulawayo in connection with a story published in last Sunday’s edition of the Standard which spoke of retired police officers and war veterans being recalled to occupy vacant top posts in the force to direct operations during the next polls
– Radio VOP