By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent
INFORMATION Deputy minister, Kindness Paradza says corruption among journalists from both public and private media organisations must be eradicated to restore honour to the noble profession.
The cancer, he said, was threatening professional and ethical standards of journalism, where scribes accept bribes from news subjects to suppress or distort information.
Paradza made the remarks while addressing guests during the Mashonaland West Provincial Journalism and Media Awards (PJAMA) held in Chinhoyi Friday.
Paradza said: “l appeal to journalists to refrain from taking brown envelopes, refrain from brown envelope journalism and maintain high ethical standards.
“We all agree that journalism is a noble profession, the fourth estate. As such, we expect you to uphold high standards of integrity, professionalism, and accountability.
He added: “It gives a bad name when allegations of bribery are levelled against some of you by society, which subsequently loses faith in your reportage, and your watchdog role becomes highly questionable.”
The ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services has received numerous complaints against media personnel demanding kickbacks, he added.
“We receive countless reports of journalists taking bribes and in the absence of evidence there is nothing much we have been able to do in that regard.”
Consultations are underway on the Zimbabwe Media Practitioners Bill, which will layout a code of ethics to guide work of scribes.
“In the quest for national development, never leave anyone or community behind. You need to give voices to the majority who are impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including our hardworking women and youths. We need to record how their lives have changed. You are aware that mass communication is also in a hurry, it moves from programme-to-programme without assessing impact.”
Paradza reiterated government’s commitment to a safe working environment for journalists.
“As a ministry, we have made our position very clear that journalists should be left to do their work without fear of harassment. We have spoken against harassment of journalists and it remains an issue we are seized with because as we open up the media sector to more outlets, journalists must feel they can operate in a free and peaceful environment that can bring the best out of them,” Paradza said.