Midlands Bureau Chief
IT is the role of the media to put Zimbabwe first when reporting to complement Government’s re-engagement efforts meant to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
The media when disseminating information must protect business and citizens by being truthful as opposed to peddling falsehoods.
More than 170 000 new jobs have been created in various sectors of the economy since 2017, with employment figures continuing on an upward trajectory since the advent of the New Dispensation.
Speaking at the World Press Freedom Day commemorations hosted by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) at Insukamini business centre in Lower Gweru at the weekend, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Dr Tinashe Manzungu said the private sector complements the Government in employment creation under favourable conditions.
He said if the business sector performs well, the growth will also be felt by the media through improved advertising which brings revenue to the media houses.
“The media has a huge role to play in promoting business activities that positively impact on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a province or the nation as a whole. The media must report positively about business and the country. I therefore urge you as the media to promote business because at the end of the day we are Zimbabweans first,” he said.
Dr Manzungu said following the genocide in Rwanda, the media in that country took an active stance to support Government’s socio-economic programmes which have resulted in the GDP of Rwanda increasing over the years.
“Right now, if you go to Rwanda or check on the Internet, there are no negative stories coming from that country. That is the media we want as business which support us and the Government so that we attract FDI. No investor will come here if we report negatively about our country,” he said.
“These organisations like Misa or Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (Zuj) are important and should be used to unite journalists so that they work together in promoting business and the country. From Gweru to the national level, think Zimbabwe first,” said Dr Manzungu.
He commended Government for policies which make it easy to do business.
“The Government said you are frontline workers and you were among the first to receive Covid-19 vaccines, that means a lot regarding your role as professionals,” said Dr Manzungu.
Misa board of trustees member, Kevin Jakachira said the Government must be commended for recognising that the media is part of the governance matrix.
“I would like to thank the Government for recognising that we are the fourth estate and therefore have an important role to play.
Government has also acknowledged that we provide an essential service hence we continued operating when many companies were closed as part of measures to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.
He said access to information is broader than scandalizing Government officials of other people in society.
Jakachira said access to information also include weather report, sports, health and not just politics.
“For example the Gweru shootings following a suspected love triangle- such issues need to be highlighted, it’s not just about politics. As a privilege to be recognised as the fourth estate we should be responsible, we don’t have to cause mayhem and despondence like what the media did during the Rwanda genocide, it would be important to understand that media, radio played role in pushing genocide, media play role in genocide.
As we speak today, owners of the radio stations and journalists who played a part in the genocide are in prison, so we need to be responsible as the media. Need to touch hearts, we need to be responsible, need to play our role,” said Jakachira.