SOME stakeholders in the media industry have poked holes into the government-sanctioned Independent Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) report produced early this year, saying some of the findings did not reflect the correct picture of the state of the media in Zimbabwe.
BY MOSES MATENGA
Impi was commissioned by the Information ministry to check on the state of the media and identify some of the industry’s urgent needs.
The report indicated that corruption had permeated the industry and also noted that the standards of journalism had gone down.
Speaking at a Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)-organised ethics conference in Harare on Thursday, Zimbabwe Independent editor Dumisani Muleya said: “I don’t agree on how it (Impi report) was framed because it does not reflect the exact state of the media now.
“The standards have not collapsed, they are the same in every newsroom, what has collapsed are the ethical values.”
Muleya said although there were cases of corruption in the media, it was not “out of control”, saying journalists caught on the wrong side of the law had been relieved of their duties.
“There is corruption, but it’s not out of control. People get fired for corruption, people get fired for fabricating stories, don’t go out with a mentality that the situation is out of control. There were some people who approached issues with preconceived ideas and a rigid mindset and, therefore, with ulterior motives. However, that won’t work because we know what people said,” Muleya said.
Media lecturer Wellington Gadzikwa also criticised the report.
“I want to share my disappointment with the Impi report. It did not bring anything new,” Gadzikwa said.
Great Zimbabwe University media lecturer Golden Maunganidze denied claims that tertiary institutions were producing half-baked journalists.
The Impi report urged the government to review and repeal the country’s restrictive media laws.
On broadcasting, the report noted that the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation had turned into a State broadcaster instead of a public/national broadcaster and that there was “too much bias” in coverage of political parties.
The report is yet to be officially presented in Parliament.
Efforts to contact commission chairman, Geoffrey Nyarota yesterday were fruitless as he had not responded to a message sent to his e-mail address.
Meanwhile, all VMCZ board members have retained their posts, with Njabulo Ncube and Mildred Sandi joining the board.
Other members are lawyer Alec Muchadehama (chairman), journalist Cris Chinaka (vice-chairman), retired judge Justice George Smith, former Alpha Media Holdings chief executive officer Raphael Khumalo, retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare, theatre producer lawyer Precious Chakasikwa, Daves Guzha, journalists Reyhana Masters-Smith, Edna Machirori, Tapfuma Machakaire and Tawanda Majoni.