‘Be better organised to bargain for better remuneration’ journos told

By Nhau Mangirazi
Journalists in Mashonaland West decried poor salaries during this year’s
World Press Freedom Day celebrations held in Chinhoyi.
Deputy minister of information media and broadcasting services
Kindness Paradza called on the media to be organized and fight for their
rights the way they been agitating for other professions like doctors,
nurses and teachers among others.
He called on media players to be coordinated for the Fourth Estate to
remain noble.
‘‘When I was appointed as deputy minister of the ministry, my marching
orders from President Emmerson Mnangagwa) was to help on media
freedom in the country and it includes journalist’s welfare. I was told to
work hard with the minister so that the media concerns are taken care of.
I will have meetings with media houses over issues to do with poor
remunerations and working conditions. We need comprehensive
information from organizations like Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ)
among others so that we map the way forward for media betterment. It is
part of my assignment to deal with issues to do with remunerations and
conditions of services. We must work closely together ahead of Media
Practioners Bill so that everything is covered for media well being,’’
Journalists complained that media owners have not been sincere of late.
A senior journalist from state media said, ‘‘We have raised this of late
but employers are not sincere to come to the table over poor
remunerations. It must be part of law so that we are protected and future
journalists’ welfare is guaranteed,’’

Chegutu Member of Parliament and member of media and broadcasting
portfolio committee Webster Shamu who was part of the interactive meeting concurred that issues of media is a ‘hot potato’
Shamu said, ‘‘The media and information portfolio committee is getting
oral evidence ahead of the bill. Journalists working environment and
security has been raised. If you have anything that you would like us to
know please feel free and submit your concerns through the parliament
portfolio committee. Let us know exactly what you are finding as
challenges in terms of working environment,’’
Paradza, a former ZUJ secretary general said lack of media workers
council is derailing progress oh journalist’s welfare.
‘‘We have been discussing this over a decade now and media must be
organized and have an employment council, employment board for
employers so that we negotiate for better salaries. Media is fragmented
because journalists hamudi kurongeka. You write about other profession
underpayment but can’t fight for your rights. The unfortunate thing is
that journalists are not organized. Forty one years after independence we
don’t have a workers council that determines how much must be paid a
junior or senior officer,’’
He added that Zimbabwe is facing a pandemic of fake news.
‘‘We want you to be professional and not peddle fake news as people
rely on what you say and write. Media is a powerful tool for good
governance and lets focus on solution based or developmental
journalism,’’
This year World Press Freedom Day theme was Press freedom as public good.