Ncube made these remarks addressing journalists at this year’s National Journalistic and Media Awards (NJMA) held at a local hotel on Friday evening where he was a guest of honour.
“Regrettably our media like the rest of our society is polarised .When the media is polarised the first casuality are facts .Facts are sacrosanct and opinion is free. This dictum is extremely crucial,” said Ncube.
Ncube said both state and independent journalists should be guided by facts in their reports.
The Minister also lamented lack of progress by the inclusive government in opening up new players in the broadcasting sector.
“As we desire to have elections early next year we need to move with great speed in licensing other players in the electronic media. Reach of electronic media is the most comprehensive in this country. If we are to a have free and fair elections the same plurality in the print media should also be reflected in the electronic media,” he said.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) also strongly warned organisations and individuals who experiment with the welfare and lives of journalists by starting newspaper organisations without the necessary capacity to run them to desist from such activities.
Speaking at this year’s NJMA, the ZUJ Secretary General Foster Dongozi said the media industry is a very serious business hence individuals and organisations should make appropriate plans and strategies before operating.
“The Mail has stopped operations, throwing a lot of uncertainty among journalists and media workers. ZUJ would like to take this opportunity to strongly warn organisations or individuals that would like to experiment with the welfare and lives of journalists by going into operation while taking the exercise as some form of adventure.
“The union will not hesitate to take on, individuals or organisations that would want to embark on experiments using journalists as guinea –pigs,” said Dongozi.
Dongozi said while the union acknowledges the granting of licences to newspapers, the union is equally concerned by the non-licensing of more independent broadcasters, the continued arrests of journalists and poor salaries as well as inadequate resources which is breeding corruption and unprofessionalism in the industry.
“Professional, quality and ethical journalism cannot flourish in an environment characterised by fear, poor salaries, inadequate resources, unfair labour practices, sexual harassment and gender based discrimination.
“The continued arrest of journalists is also very distressing and we call on the inclusive government to intervene and bring this to an immediate stop,” said Dongozi.
Some of the dignitaries who attended the colourful ceremony are Minister of Information technology Nelson Chamisa and Peter Primus, the deputy Germany ambassador.