Zanu- PF legislator Kindness Paradza has ranted at local journalists for allegedly tossing media ethics through the window in exchange for bribes from a corrupt few who pass the proverbial brown envelop to ensure their immoral acts are kept under wraps.
Paradza, a former journalist and newspaper owner, was speaking during an anti-corruption panel discussion organised by the Information for Development Trust (IDT), a local NGO, at a Harare hotel last Thursday.
The meeting was called to allow journalists and the general public to brainstorm on how rampant corruption in the country could effectively be dealt with.
IDT, under its founder and national coordinator Tawanda Majoni, has partnered local journalists and the media in investigating various forms of corruption associated with public institutions.
In his presentation, Paradza, MP for Makonde, also singled out the state controlled Herald newspaper for allegedly becoming a “rogue” publication as seen by its perceived readiness to dump ethics at the service of some factional elements within the ruling Zanu PF.
But Paradza used much of his address to berate the current crop of “purchased” journalists he said were a far cry from his own generation of scribes who prioritised telling the story in its pure form.
“The problem is yourselves as journalists, you are no longer legitimate; people no longer trust you because the golden era where it was difficult for you as a journalist to be purchased is no longer there…what we now have are journalists who put a price tag on a story.
“…The public no longer trusts you. They would rather trust social media than yourselves,” Paradza said to grumbles from journalists who formed the gallery during the meeting.
Paradza said corruption stories sponsored by IDT only saw the light of day because they were being sponsored, a thing which would have been the complete opposite if the story was not funded.
“These investigations are successful because they are being funded; they are funding the other logistics that is why no price tag is given to that story. The rest of the other stories are thrown away because you are now going for the highest bidder,” he said.
The former Financial Gazette senior scribe said the current crop of journalists had lost trust with the general public which has now refrained from giving story tips to them fearing the latter would instead use the leads to extort for money from the cited culprits.
“Look at yourselves and introspect. What are you doing to the profession,” Paradza said.
However, his comments did not go unchallenged as journalists and media practitioners who formed the gallery were quick to remind the Zanu PF legislator that journalists in fact belonged to a corrupt national system epitomised by politicians themselves.
Media activist Rashweat Mkundu said “the journalism takes the shape of the politics”.
“The problem in this country is that the political leadership has deteriorated, so has journalism. So, you cannot expect journalists to be professional when the political leadership has no integrity and legitimacy,” Mkundu said, adding that the media was now kept under a leash by the political elite.
Former Kambuzuma legislator, Willius Madzimure, said journalists have done their part in exposing corruption but there was no political will from the country’s governing elite.
The newly formed IDT has so far produced two in-depth stories focusing on the ZINARA and GMB corruption.
In his comments during the meeting, IDT coordinator Majoni said Zimbabweans should demand action against the corrupt elite beyond their general consumption of the news about corruption.
IDT chairperson Reyhana Masters said it was unfortunate most Zimbabweans now marvel at the flashy lifestyles being led by the corrupt and often wonder how they could also become part of the corruption.
Original article: http://zw.peopleread.net/post/423503-zimbabwe-paradza-berates-purchased-journalists