THE Southern Eye newspaper was officially launched yesterday, amid pomp and fanfare outside the Large City Hall before hundreds of Bulawayo residents.
Report by Nduduzo Tshuma
Southern Eye becomes the fourth newspaper to be published by Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), which also publishes The Zimbabwe Independent, the Standard and NewsDay.
Speaking at the event, Industry and Trade minister Welshman Ncube said the paper would help create conversations about the people of the south.
“What we are doing today and what we are celebrating is not just their (AMH) achievements as businesspeople, but an important contribution that they are making to the exercise of our freedom of speech in this country,” Ncube said.
“Freedom of speech is one of the most important freedoms that any people can have in any given country.
“You cannot say you are free as a people or as a country without the freedom to express yourself.”
Ncube said the paper would enable the people of the south to tell their stories.
The MDC leader said he regretted that the inclusive government, which was about to end, had achieved little in the area of media reform.
“We have had a situation where some private newspapers have been licensed, they have come and gone,” he said.
“Others have survived and that is how it should be, let those who survive, survive and let those who fail, fail because the market has judged you unsuitable and not because some official in a government office has decreed that you cannot publish.”
Ncube said Zimbabwe remained the only Sadc country with one State television station and even small countries had done better than this country.
Bulawayo mayor Thaba Moyo said the paper would give a voice to the people of the southern region and empower them to participate actively in national and economic development.
Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairperson Callistus Ndlovu said the paper had the potential to create debate in the southern parts of the country and was critical in highlighting burning issues in the area.
“A paper like this is very important because it will help people learn many things they do not know,” he said.
“We have young children looking to South Africa for jobs.
“This issue must be explained and people must be shown alternatives than going to Johannesburg, so that they can make their leaders more accountable in terms of enabling their people to benefit from the fruits of Independence.”
The Zanu PF provincial chairman challenged the Southern Eye team to improve the quality of thinking in the region and help people act and judge rationally.
AMH chairman Trevor Ncube said the group was excited that the Bulawayo residents had come in their numbers to the launch of the latest addition to the group.
“This is going to be a long journey where we are going to look forward to your support as advertisers and as readers,” he said.
“Southern Eye is an independent newspaper. It is going to be a newspaper that is not political at all and it is not going to support Zanu PF or MDC.
“We are launching a platform for all of us to have a conversation about the things that are important to this country.
“This newspaper is going to be partial to one thing. It is going to be partial to the truth. We are going to be very biased towards the truth and that is the only bias we are going to have.”
Ncube said Southern Eye, a successor to NewsDay Southern Edition, would strive to enrich the conversation in the southern parts of the country.
“It is going to get the people of the south talking to each other, arguing and fighting in a civilised manner so as to help develop this country,” he said.
The Southern Eye’s main focus will be on Matabeleland, Bulawayo, Midlands and Masvingo, as it seeks to provide relevant, credible local news.