The latest issue of the privately owned weekly newspaper, The Standard, published two articles alleging rampant corrupt journalistic practice in Zimbabwe.
The main story, ‘Corruption watch: This is how badjournalism has become’ is a personal narration of unbridled goings-on in the world of brown envelope journalism in the country that the writer of the article, Tawanda Majoni, alleges he has witnessed “recently” and “a few years ago” among colleagues and media houses.
Its side bar story — an investigative piece on alleged abuse of farmers by tobacco contractor Voedsel Tobacco International through its contract farming scheme — lends credence to Majoni’s allegations. It reveals latest attempts by some freelance journalists to entice its author (going under the pen name Nyaradzo Nyere) to abort it.
The story, “Tobacco contractor short-changes farmers amid bribery scam involving scribes’, was commissioned by the Information for Development Trust (IDD, a non-profit organization, headed by Majoni.
It is against this background that the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) duly takes note of the concerns raised in the articles regarding issues of ethical journalism which form the core of what the union stands for: to secure, uphold, advocate and defend professionalism.
There is absolutely no excuse for unethical journalistic practice. As such, ZUJ will continue to pursue a collective, multi-sectoral approach to try and address this problem.
ZUJ is open to receiving complaints and evidence against corrupt journalistic practice so that it can take remedial action, which includes naming and shaming those involved. However to date the Union is yet to receive official complaints and evidence from members of the public and the journalists on the prevalence of the “brown envelope syndrome”
It is also a fact that Zimbabwe has world-respected media personnel some who are lecturing at global universities and working for global media houses. Its newsrooms also still retain respectable men and women journalists.