By John Masuku
Johannesburg, June 04, 2014-Media practitioners have been urged to shun corruption in order to reclaim lost respect and trust by the public.
This was said Wednesday by media proprietor Trevor Ncube, the chairperson of Alpha Media Holdings, the owners of Newsday,Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard newspapers
when he opened a conference on integrity and corruption in the media. Leading publishers, editors and senior journalists from media houses across
Southern Africa are attending the conference, jointly organised by African Media Initiative (AMI) and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, which also seeks to endorse leadership principles that promote professionalism in the media industry.
Ncube, who is also chairperson of AMI said audiences and readers had lost trust and respect of the media due to widespread corrupt tendencies in news gathering and publication. He cited brown envelope journalism in which reporters and editors are paid bribes by powerful individuals in politics and business.
“Where is our conscience? Corruption is now rampant in our midst in various facets” fumed Ncube who also condemned the payment of some freebies in which journalists got free news trips, air tickets and access to prestigious events which resulted in the non-publication of critical news stories related to the sponsors.
Ncube called on all media houses to fully equip themselves and look after their employees well in order to avoid the begging syndrome which compromised their freedom to report objectively.He also condemned self-censorship as a form of corruption that should not be torelated.
Speaking at the same conference, the deputy executive director of Corruption Watch South Africa Bongi Mlangeni said it was surprising that only a few cases of corruption in the media are reported about.
She revealed the public in most Southern African countries perceived polititicans and the police to be the most corrupt public servants and called for the naming and shaming of all corrupt journalists.