PENHALONGA – Veteran journalist and Makonde member of parliament and Kindness Paradza has no kind words for the crop of journalists and is concerned over the lack of quality and professionalism they exhibit.
He made sensational claims that most of them are turning into political activists.
In an interview with The Zimbabwe Morning Post on the sidelines of the ongoing public hearings on the Freedom of Information Bill held in Tsvingwe, Penhalonga on Wednesday, Paradza said it was ‘unfortunate’ that most of the current crop of journalists have turned into activism.
“Most of them lack professionalism and quality of a professional journalist,” he said.
“They are commercialising journalism. Hunger has caused many of these journalists to write for money and they have forgotten the basics and ethics of journalism,” lamented Paradza.
“They are doing the economics of journalism where they are being paid by politicians and other influential people so that they right whatever those people want,” he said.
Paradza said journalists must go back to professionalism and should embark on giving solutions to any crisis and play a watchdog role.
“Journalists must produce quality articles and do what l can call solution journalism. Instead of always hammering people and writing negatively about something, journalist must now provide solutions,” he said.
He said the journalists of today were now working on commercial purposes and were doing shortcuts.
“They have thrown away their fundamental roles that is to inform, educate and entertain. I don’t think most of them have gone through training because their work is of poor quality,” he said.
“There is need to have proper training for journalists and revisit the true ethics. There is now great need to restore journalism legacy,” Paradza said.
During the hearings, journalists said the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) and not the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) is appropriate guardian of human rights in Zimbabwe, including the right to access to information.
Farai Matebvu a freelance journalist said:
“The ZHRC’s mandate will allow it to interpret the right to access information in a significantly wider context than the ZMC. Therefore, the ZHRC must be given the task of overseeing the protection and promotion of the right to access information in Zimbabwe.”
The journalists were against the section eight of the bill that states that requests for general information must be finalised within 21 days.
Kenneth Matimaire a journalist and chairperson of the Media Institute of Southern Africa – Advocacy Committee in Manicaland said: “Taking a perspective as a journalist we work with deadlines we must be given exemption so that we can access information after 48 hours,” he said.
Matimaire added that there should be a provision which clearly deals with cases where an information officer fails to provide the information within the recommended period.