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Crisis Report - Issue 216
in Zimbabwe Coalition
August 29, 2013
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should begin from within – Report
commissioned by the Voluntary
Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) has intimated that the professional
conduct of journalists is a critical ingredient in reforming the
sector amid revelations of rampant violations of the ethics guiding
The report titled
“The State of Journalism Ethics in Zimbabwe” contends
that there is widespread consensus over the fact that the journalism
profession in the country is in a state of “moral and ethical
degeneracy” as evidenced by the rise of “propaganda
journalism” and hence the recommendation that: “To reclaim
its lost ethical ground, journalists need to go beyond just introspection.
They need to follow this up with creating and fully subscribing
to self-regulatory mechanisms which have ‘teeth’.”
The report also noted that despite the constitutional protections
of freedom of the press and freedom of expression, the policy and
regulatory environment remained a key impediment to journalism practice
– a fact which has led to repeated calls for media reforms.
The report cites
the Director of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA), Nhlanhla Ngwenya emphasizing
on the need to adhere to ethics by journalists and commitment to
conducting themselves in a professional manner so as not to undermine
the efforts being made by media reform activists.
you entrench non-professionalism, it becomes the norm. The problem
is so serious that it makes it difficult for us as media reform
advocates when we approach state authorities to lobby for self-regulation.
They remind us of just how rotten the profession is and justify
their reluctance to endorse self-regulation,” says Ngwenya.
The Report optimistically
notes that despite the messy state of affairs within the media sector,
the respondents in the study expressed confidence that the situation
was salvageable as long as there was a strong commitment to ‘introspect’
and engage in a ‘profession wide’ dialogue to inform
a positive change in professional conduct.
that is said to begin at home, the reform agenda of the media sector
will most likely be realized if it begins from within as journalists
align their conduct with the ethics guiding their profession. In
its concluding remarks, the Report reiterates that:
needs to demonstrate that it can clean the ethical mess itself and
use that as a strategy to leverage the state to fully accede to
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