Take advantage of digital revolution — Mutsvangwa

19 Nov, 2021 - 00:11 0 Views
Take advantage of digital revolution — Mutsvangwa Zimpapers Board Chairman Mr Tommy Sithole

The Chronicle

Leonard Ncube, Victoria Falls Reporter

THE media should adapt to disruptive digital change to remain relevant and play its role of telling the Zimbabwean story while amplifying programmes being implemented by the Second Republic which seek to transform livelihoods in the country.

Speaking specifically about the country’s largest integrated media house, Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited (Zimpapers) which is holding a board induction and strategic review meeting here, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said businesses that adapt to disruptive technologies will survive while those that don’t will collapse.

“Zimpapers is very peculiar in that we hold it in trust on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe. We must ensure that the group continues to flourish as a commercial entity at the same time meeting the information needs of our population. For us in Government, Zimpapers is one of the symbols of our black majoritarian victories over white racist supremacies.

“There is no doubt that the challenges that we are facing are substantial. The last two years have seen us having to do business under the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown periods that were imposed to save lives caused lots of distress to business units in the media sector. That we are still here today is purely testimony of our resilience my hope and prayer is that the worst of the pandemic is now behind us and we can now focus our energies on rebuilding and expanding this institution,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“The real picture is the disruptive nature of digital transformation which has hit right at the core of Zimpapers, the hard copy newspaper. With technological innovation, we are continuously in a state of transformation. So, as Zimpapers, its either you adapt to survive or you die and the choice is yours. It is very important that as newspapers we move quickly so that we move with digital times and Zimpapers must be part of this digitalisation innovation as a matter of national commitment.” 

She said Zimbabwe is grateful to Africa’s forefathers for making it possible for Zimpapers to be owned by Africans, adding that the transfer of the company’s ownership to black majority in 1980 signified the restoration of the people’s voice which had been suppressed for close to a century.

Minister Mutsvangwa said while writing the history of the country is very important, digitalising is crucial to cater for all generations and readers and audiences.

She said the 4th industrial revolution will accelerate the pace of innovation to communication technologies and render certain modes of communication obsolete and unviable, and challenged Zimpapers to grapple with these sharp changes.

The Minister said the majority voices should be captured to celebrate developments being done by the Second Republic under President Mnangagwa.

“As Minister I support you. We want to tell the story as it is, if it’s not told by us then somebody else will tell it so we are happy that we are here to support the national agenda. Let me reiterate that disruptive technologies are here to stay. 

“In the same vein you must be vigilant to take advantage of commercial opportunities in this digital content domain. The future is clearly digital and you should have a clear digital strategy for Zimpapers. The need for news is still there but the way news is accessed has changed, and will continue to change at a pace you may not be comfortable with so it’s either you reimagine the whole business or you face extinction,” Minister Mutsvangwa said.

She challenged the media to be developmental and make the country great in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1) and also the engagement and re-engagement policy.

She implored Zimpapers to make sure its products communicate Government policy with relevant content tailor made for different audiences.

The inister reiterated that Government will not interfere with editorial policy.

 “We need to hear the voices of the people who are being impacted by these programmes among them youth and women. We need to record how their lives are changing. We need to give voice to the majority who are appreciating the work being done by President Mnangagwa and the Second Republic,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

The media should put on its news agenda climate change, Covid-19 and infrastructure development issues in its role to educate, entertain and inform, said the Minister.

Minister Monica Mutsvangwa

She challenged Zimpapers to continue adding value to its national mandate guided by the national interest and the need to make profit, saying a limping Zimpapers will be of no use going to 2023 elections. 

Minister Mutsvangwa said Zimbabweans will be looking to Zimpapers to provide them with relevant news and challenged the company to use the year 2022 to put all its ducks in a row and be ready to deliver.

She said Covid-19 brought to the fore the need to strategise and Zimpapers should reimagine how the printed newspaper should look like, distribution, circulation and subscription models to be viable and sustain business.

She said Government as the major source of news and consumer of Zimpapers’ products stands ready to support the company.

The Minister commended Zimpapers for leading the way in saving lives during the Covid-19 era through information dissemination by making sure Zimbabweans are aware of precautionary measures and protocols.

In attendance were old and new board members, management, editors and heads of all divisions.

Board chairperson Mr Tommy Sithole said this is the first time Zimpapers had held such a meeting.

 He reiterated the group’s commitment to supporting the national agenda.

“It’s not always bad news that make good stories, but also good stories make very good reports. We are also reminding ourselves that we are here to support the national agenda, and the national agenda is very clear about what the President has said and intends to do, and what he is doing with his Cabinet.

“We certainly want to assure you we are doing our best and certainly we are not going to sit, we can do better and we want to do the best we can to support the Government, to support the system, because it’s never something to be ashamed of to be supporting a government, to be supporting the party. 

“It happens everywhere in United States and UK that before elections newspapers declare which candidate they are going to be supporting. It’s not something that we are inventing, it’s something that’s there. If we appear sometimes not to be supporting the Government it is because we believe in what we are doing, no one is going to just stand there and write carelessly and try to do down the Government. The fact is that there is not a single editor in our entire system who is going to be sitting there and say I am going to do down the Government,” said Mr Sithole.

Victoria Falls City Mayor Councillor Somveli Dlamini said the media has diligently told the Zimbabwe story.

Clr Dlamini said there is need for the industry, local authority and media to formulate marketing strategies for Victoria to collectively sell the tourism destination.

He said the Zimpapers meeting adds to a number of similar conferences that testify to Victoria Falls’ readiness to host conferences in the aftermath of Covid-19-induced lockdowns and the city stands to benefit from collaboration with Zimpapers. — @ncubeleon

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