Mthabisi Tshuma, Showbiz Correspondent
As Government moves to manage dissemination of information relating to Covid19, people have been advised to rely on traditional media so that they do not consume false news.
Some have been relying on social media which unfortunately, has been having a lot of falsehoods causing unnecessary alarm and despondency.
Scribes who have gone the extra mile of putting their lives at risk just to give people accurate information, have pledged to continue executing their roles, especially during the lockdown.
Harare-based ZBCtv news anchor, Zandile “Zaza” Ndlovu said it was important for people to follow the national broadcaster as it is the “official” channel for releasing all Covid-19 information.
She said social media, if one follows the right pages, was also key for information dissemination as those abroad rely on it for news back home.
“I run Covid-19 updates on those in the diaspora through Skype where they get to share their lockdown experiences and relay messages with people in Zimbabwe on the importance of staying at home.
“Zimbabweans should know that the Covid-19 virus is deadly. It kills. It doesn’t segregate whether you are rich or poor,” said Zaza.
Star FM’s DJ Mox who hosts the TXO afternoon show said he is walking the talk to ensure the nation unites for one mission. He said he has had to quit his social activities like touch rugby and the gym as everyone has a part to play.
“I’m doing my best to focus on hygiene. I try to move around with a mask or buffer and wearing gloves too. Also, I’m pro social distancing so handshakes and hugs are not optional. At our station, measures have been put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus. It’s going to take a while (for coronavirus to clear) I know, but I hope people can embrace the new norm,” DJ Mox said.
Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) which has been a great source of news online because of its credibility committed to continue informing people about the virus.
“Our aim is to give people accurate information about what’s taking place in relation to Covid-19. People have to heed the call by government to stay at home,” ZTN assignments editor Tinomuda Chakanyuka said.
Lisa Masuku, a reporter with ZBCtv who is based at Montrose Studios in Bulawayo for the lockdown period said:
“I’ve read widely about science journalists so as to know how best I can educate and disseminate true information about the virus and not speculations or opinions. People should keep safe and avoid crowds so that we can curb the spread of Covid-19.”
Masuku said they are not taking chances as journalists so when going for interviews, they wear gloves and masks for their safety.
ZiFM Stereo presenter Amard who hosts the Big Show on weekdays said her passion and the need to keep the public informed has made working from home turn her home into a viable studio.
“Although turning the house to be a studio has been challenging considering the difference of sound quality compared to the studio, I’m glad to say that I’ve managed to improvise on that. I’m able to keep people informed and entertained from the comfort of my home during this time which is amazing,” Amard said.
She added that to support their efforts, there is need for public figures like musicians and actors to also encourage the public to adhere to lockdown rules through their artistic ways.
Gweru’s 98.4FM presenter Jah Soshea who runs the Run Down show on Fridays said:
“While informing the public on the virus, we also make sure they’re entertained by playing good music for them so that they avoid going out. This is to keep boredom out of their lives.
“In such times, keeping people entertained is of vital importance so that they don’t lose hope or engage in activities that are immoral.”
ZBCtv Matabeleland South reporter Sifiso Mpofu said their role is to highlight challenges faced in that province during the fight against Covid-19.
Radio Zimbabwe and National FM presenter Nqobile Malinga who uses indigenous languages among them Kalanga, Ndebele and Shona during the 4-5PM news show said there are programmes which are being worked out in all the 16 official languages among them Chewa, Shona, Ndebele and Tjikalanga to keep the nation informed.
Zvishavane-based YaFM breakfast show presenter Forbes Mugadza who hosts the breakfast show urged people to stay at their homes and wash their hands regularly.
Kariba-based Nyaminyami FM presenters, Obert Siamilandu who hosts the Municipal Talk and Zvirimudzimba and Moses Shagari who hosts the drive show also said the public should collectively respond to all the measures put in place by the authorities. – @mthabisi_mthire.