Speaking to Radio Vop on the sidelines of the just-ended annual African Media Leaders Forum (AMLF) held here on 18-19 November 2010, veteran journalist ,media proprietor and former member of parliament for Makonde constituency Kindness Paradza bemoaned a situation where the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) licensed some newspapers almost six months ago but only one, the News Day is publishing.
Others publications like the Daily News which vigorously campaigned for its come back after being closed under draconian media laws have failed to take off the ground largely due to financial problems. AMLF 2010, which brought together different African media institutions, journalists, current and potential funders and investors met under the theme “Funding African Media in an age of uncertain business models.”
“What we have learnt here in Yaounde is that in other African countries media institutions enjoy excellent relationships with their financial service and business sectors which have assisted them in their capitalization and operational projects.I therefore urge banks and other financial institutions in Zimbabwe to seriously consider funding media especially upcoming community and commercial projects,” said Paradza, whose Tribune newspaper was shut down under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, which he strongly criticised in parliament, resulting in his expulsion from Zanu(PF).
Paradza proposed that umbrella organizations like the Media Institution of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe Chapter), the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and newspaper publishers and broadcasting initiatives should convene regular conferences and workshops with local financial institutions and advertisers in order to lure increased financial sector involvement in the media and move away from donor dependency syndrome.
“The media should profile itself strategically and spell out their operational and expansion requirements. They should explain to the financial sector what is involved in running media institutions and what opportunities are there for investors. The financial sector should in turn inform media institutions about how they should model themselves as properly managed, risk free business entities that can attract meaningful investment”, added Paradza, a former president of ZUJ and secretary-general of the formerly Prague-based but now defunct International Organisation of Journalists(IOJ).