THE publisher of online publication ZimEye, Simba Chikanza has been condemned for trying to blackmail the First Lady Amai Auxillia Mnangagwa into commenting on issues which she has no authority to speak on, in breach of ethical journalism.
Chikanza posted on his Twitter threatening to make a conversation he had with the First Lady public.
In a statement, director for communication services in the Office of the First Lady, Ms Kudzai Gumbo said the attempt by Chikanza to blackmail Amai Mnangagwa into speaking to him using threats to release an off-record conversation is unethical and breaches journalism standards.
Chikanza called the First Lady intending to interview her on issues that she felt were out of her competence.
“The First Lady spoke to Simba Chikanza off the record, which is a journalism standard and ethical rule that allows the proposed interviewee, Amai Mnangagwa, an opportunity to speak with journalists giving them context to issues and why she can’t speak on them,” said Ms Gumbo.
“It is a tragic and terrible ethical breach of journalism for Chikanza to then blackmail the First Lady publicly, demanding that she gives him an interview based on a threat to release an off-the-record conversation.”
Ms Gumbo said while the First Lady has always been available to speak to journalists because of her obligatory role and functions to the nation, it is, however, unprofessional and unethical for journalists to force her into speaking on issues she has no authority over.
“However, it is unprofessional for journalists to force her to speak on issues she has no authority to speak on, especially after she has explained in an off-record conversation why she can’t do so,” she said.
“If he carries out his threats, it will break the trust between the Office of the First Lady and the media, something that Amai Mnangagwa doesn’t want to happen.”