By Leopold Munhende
US$25 000 worth of personal protective equipment (PPE) has been availed to local journalists by the Swedish Embassy and other partners as a contribution to assisting the media in covering the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking at the handover ceremony in Harare, Monday, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) director Tabani Moyo, representing the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, said the donation will go a long way in motivating journalists who faced many challenges covering the deadly virus during the current national lockdown period.
“The journalist in Zimbabwe on a daily basis faces daily threats on one hand of mediating the Zimbabwean story, on the other hand of risking contracting the deadly pandemic,” he said.
“On top of that, the journalist performs his duties without guaranteeing he would be safe from other vagaries of our life, mainly he can get attacked, he can get imprisoned, as you know that during the lockdown we recorded 15 cases of violations until we instituted court proceedings,” said Moyo who was speaking on behalf of the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ).
The donation included face masks, suits, gloves, and hand sanitisers and will be distributed to media practitioners across the country.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary-general Foster Dongozi pleaded with other possible partners to come on board and support journalists in the current COVID-19 fight.
“As ZUJ we are very appreciative of the fact that we have received this material,” said Dongozi.
“As you are aware journalists are some of the frontline players in the fight against COVID-19. We want to use this opportunity to continue to call different players to contribute to our fight against the pandemic.”
“This contribution in this fight against COVID19 is actually a welcome development considering that as journalists we have always been the frontline players. It is unfortunate our contribution of late has not been taken into consideration,” he said.
Business Times reporter, Tinashe Makichi described the donation as important to the media fraternity.
“The contribution of journalists is as good as health workers, we felt we had been left out and believe this to be an important contribution,” he added.