With about 50 journalists having succumbed to the deadly corona virus, the media practitioners remain the most exposed frontliners like doctors and other medical officials as the battle to relay information on covid-19 rages on.
The Swedish embassy and other partners have thus taken it upon themselves to make sure journalists play their role in safe environments by providing a $25 000 protective equipment donation.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony in Harare, Monday, Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) director Tabani Moyo said the donation will go a long way in motivating journalists who are having to deal with many challenges during the Covid-19 lockdown.
“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.
“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 sanitizers to be distributed across the country.
In Zimbabwe, some newsrooms are having to foot the bill of buying protective clothing for journalists while others have virtually closed and now operate over the internet.
In an interview Zim Morning Publisher Elias Mambo said the donation comes at a right time when media houses are struggling.
“This is well appreciated and it comes at a time when the media is struggling to keep afloat.
“Media houses have been hard hit with the pandemic such that they cannot even afford to run their operations.
“We are pleased that our partners have come at this time and the donation will go a long way as the fight against covid19 rages on,” Mambo said.
Zimbabwe Editors Forum national coordinator Njabulo Ncube said the donation is a welcome development in the fight against Corona virus.
“Our members have been exposed and we hope they will now be able to perform their duties without fear,” Ncube said.