SECRETARY for Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, George Charamba has threatened an enquiry into the operations of the media, which he said were perpetuating an antagonist relationship with the government.
BY PHYLLIS MBANJE
Making veiled threats which were seemingly targeted at the independent media, Charamba said those who were responsible for propagating falsehoods that created animosity with the government would soon be “leading miserable lives.”
Addressing journalists at a post-elections media workshop organised by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre (Sardc) on Friday, Charamba accused certain sections of the media of writing frenzied editorials during the July 31 harmonised elections, which were won by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF.
Without mentioning names, Charamba said concerned media houses focussed on the triviaz, and yet it was common knowledge that they had serious issues like labour concerns which they were not tackling.
“I applaud the ZBC for not being shy in smelling their own armpits unlike other media houses which are sweeping the labour issue under the carpet,” he said.” Currently, it is only Zimpapers which is close to viability.”
Charamba said bread and butter issues were more important for the viability of the industry.
“Since 1980, no one has taken an enquiry into how the information sector has performed. It is time now to do a self-introspective of our operations. The analysis will offer a prescriptive solution of the way forward.”
He also mocked the industry saying it was full of “doers and not thinkers”.
“Most media houses are struggling to find purpose and are still trying to find relevance after the sensationalism which accompanied the peaceful elections,” said Charamba. “The frenzied editorials that punctuated the event have now died down and I see a directionless group that is grasping at straws. Some are still celebrating what they think they perceived correctly while some are regretting burning the bridges in the heat of the moment.”
He also accused the media of transforming themselves into political parties during elections, adding that it was surprising that they failed dismally to predict the results of the elections.
Addressing the same gathering, Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deputy chairperson, Joyce Kazembe said the media were guilty of being partisan.
“The media jostled to please their handlers and forgot their ethics in the process,” she said.