The Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum is concerned Zimpapers’ suspension of the manager of its talk radio station, CapiTalk FM, for airing a programme called ‘Ending Torture and Impunity in Zimbabwe’ on June 25.
Nyaradzo Makombe-Hazangwi is the second manager to fall foul of censors at the state-controlled broadcaster after Napoleon Nyanhi was sacked in August 2018 along with star presenter Ruvheneko Parirenyatwa over a live phone-in programme in the wake of a street massacre by soldiers in post election protests in Harare.
Makombe-Hazangwi was sent home this week in the fallout over the programme sponsored by the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum.
Panelists condemned the rising incidence of abductions and torture in Zimbabwe, while demanding that the country ratifies the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
While ZINEF respects and upholds established journalism principles, values and ethics, including professional and impartial reporting, suspending journalists over such issues is too heavy-handed, repressive and needlessly intimidatory.
It compromised free and progressive reporting among journalists, especially at the public media, which Zimpapers ought to be.
We are gravely concerned about this authoritarian move which seeks to muzzle the media and journalists’ freedom to report professionally and impartiallly, without fear or favour.
There is a disturbing growing trend in Zimbabwe by media owners and managers of just suspending or firing journalists over small and sometimes even trivial things.
Media owners and managers must behave in a professional and progressive, and stop being repressive and intimidatory to journalists.
We can’t afford to have that in this day and age, particularly when we are allowed trying to navigate the dangers posed to the media by the digital revolution and the Covid-19 impact and consequences.
Let’s all be professional and responsible in our actions as media professionals.