Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 666

IMPI

Information and Media Panel of Inquiry





Report of the Official Inquiry into the
State of the Information and Media Industry
in Zimbabwe


April December 2014

Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services


Production Services, 57 Mazowe Street, Harare
Telephone 263-4-796521/263 (0)716801275
Email:impi.zimbabwe@gmail.com


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 1








Official Title

Report of the
Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry
in Zimbabwe

Short Form

Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI)

Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services 2014

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 2

INFORMATION &
PREFACE MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY
_________

Terms of Reference for
An Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry
in Zimbabwe

Background
Since Independence, Zimbabwe has not launched a systematic and comprehensive
inquiry into the state of the information sector.

The closest Government got to such was by way of one or two consultancy reports, and
lately, the National Survey on Broadcasting in Zimbabwe carried out between July and
September 2003. Both the consultancy and the survey narrowly looked at subsectors of
the Information Sector (public information subsector in the case of the consultancy and
broadcasting subsector in the case of the survey), and even then well before the
convergence revolution which has transformed the sector in a fundamental way.

The three decades of Independence, particularly the last decade, saw phenomenal
changes in the information sector, largely brought about by major technological shifts
which continue to this day, by a re-grading of the sector from relative unimportance into a
major if not decisive factor in rights, national and global politics and, the transformation
of information into a lead services industry capable of rapid, inclusive growth and
employment at least cost, with little entry barriers, and in favour of the youth: that
demographically dominant group hardest hit by unemployment and marginalisation.

This pervasive role of Information and ICTs in national and global economies has made
Information a vibrant enabler, a formidable arbiter in national and global economic
processes. Sadly, this new revolution has not reflected in Zimbabwe.

Symptomatic of this lack of clarity on the place of, and in handling the information sector,
is the unresolved organisational framework for this sector at the level of Government.
The impact of this has been to truncate the national response to the Information
revolution. The result is that the whole sector has proceeded with little or no policy
framework or guidance by Government.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 3

In the case of telecommunications and broadcasting, litigation forced the hand of
Government. To this day the information sector remains Zimbabwes chink in the
armour, which is why the countrys enemies have used the information flank to attack it.
Conceptually, the information revolution is still conceived as only a hardware and
software proposition, hardly a content development challenge. The belief is that once the
country is flooded with ICT-related imported gadgetry, then all is done! Clearly there is a
policy vacuum.

Legally, the information revolution has thrown up new issues to do with growth
promotion, regulation, standards and protection of society from negative, harmful
material. The Orientation of laws affecting the information sector has been one of control,
and not one of viewing this sector anew as a growth pole in the national economy. The
orientation of advocacy work in this sector has been to view this sector as a matter of
power, legitimacy and rights contestation.

The biggest casualty of both these orientations has been the industrial/business side of the
sector whose growth has been stymied and neglected. To this day, the legal regime on
information has many gaps and inadequacies, creating a situation where information
products from Zimbabwe are freely exploited without any returns to the economy. The
country is ill-equipped to enforce any intellectual property rights, or develop viable
business models and platforms from them.

Technologically, Zimbabwe is an information dinosaur. There has been very little


capitalisation and technological upgrade in what subsists as the information industry in
Zimbabwe today.

The digitisation revolution in the broadcast subsector is well behind schedule. Even when
it catches up willy-nilly, thanks to the global digital migration deadline of 2015,
Zimbabwe will discover it lacks sufficient investments in the creative industries which
should have been a concomitant of the digitisation investment programme.
Consequently, Zimbabwe may be fated to evolve as an information consumer market, and
not as an information producer market.

The newspaper industry fares no better. Until recently, the industry depended on old
setting, plating and printing technologies. Where attempts have been made to modernise,
this has been by way of refurbished machines, an approach which can never put
Zimbabwe on the cutting edge of information technology. For all these reasons and more,
Zimbabwes information sector remains a dinosaur technology.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 4

By way of skills and training, the situation on the ground is a sorry one. Although
training institutions have grown numerically, and even escalated to levels of higher
learning, the product from these training institutions has fallen far, far short, even when
benchmarked against the requirements of old, pre-ICT revolution media models.
Training aids in these institutions belie rather than reflect the technological revolution.
The curricula followed have not been attuned to the requirements of existing newsrooms,
let alone modernised ones towards which the sector should aspire.

There is no link between trainers and users of trained skills, indeed no mechanism for
interaction beyond ad-hoc industrial placements which to date only serve to reveal
horrendous inadequacies in current training models. There is no relationship between the
numbers of journalists spewed by training institutions and what the sector can absorb.
Clearly the information sector faces a training and skills crisis, well before one talks
about modernising those skills.

Editorially the information sector faces a real values dilemma. This has gone beyond
being a charge against journalism by those in power. It has become a self-admitted
shortcoming by practitioners of the industry.

Years of adversarial and polarised relationships have levied a horrendous toll on


professional and ethical standards. The desire for entrapment has been mutual on the
part of information holders and information seekers. The effect has been one of mutual
ruin for those in authority and those in the publishing industry, and a real disaster for
citizens who should be well served by both. The sectors values crisis has to be addressed
in a comprehensive way that seeks integrity and professionalism in the sector.

Institutionally, the information sector is fragmented. It is structured as if convergence


is still to happen, structured as if we still live in an era where telecommunications, print
and broadcasting; where voice, image and word, still exists apart and in distinct,
impenetrable compartments.

While technology has converged, the business models, the regulatory models, the taxation
models, the institutional models all these have not, and do not seem to see the need to.

Publishers have no common forum. Editors have no cross-cutting forum. There is no


institutional vehicle for meaningful regular contact between content merchants and
backbone operators. ADMA which is supposed to provide a link between publishers and
advertisers hardly works as a source of impetus for growth.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 5

What is worse, industry-wide structures for lobbying Government for hospitable policies
and tax concessions and funding do not exist. Or for collaborative actions in non-
competitive areas of common interest, areas such as training, printing, newsprint
purchasing and/or investments, product distribution, common way (backbone)
development, etc, etc. Here is one sector unaware of commons and of
thoroughfares even though so many exist, albeit unmarked!

Such is the state of play of things in this sector which is hardly an industry at all. The real
challenge is to overcome the narrow mindset, the unimaginative and uneconomic
mindset, to lift and widen the vista of players in the industry so parameters for a real
industry begin to be shaped and developed for a re-launch.

There is now a genuine readiness to evolve an industry, a desire to work together for a
viable and growing information industry founded on national and professional values,
and capable of enabling the larger economy through increased information efficiencies,
while creating a real voice and massive employment for the country. But that readiness
needs a framework developed from an accurate grasp of the state the sector is currently in
before thoughts can be deployed on what is to be done for Zimbabwe to create a vibrant
information sector that serves it adequately and well.

To that end, it is proposed that some official enquiry into the sector be caused. The
inquiry should be wide enough to encompass the whole sector, undeterred by ministerial
demarcations so a comprehensive report can be authored. This point has a direct bearing
on drawing up the terms of reference, as well as the membership of enquirers.

Terms of Reference
1) To inquire into, assess and determine the policy, legal, technological, business,
human resource, editorial and institutional adequacy and readiness in the
information sector;
2) To inquire into and gauge the level of investments in the sector; to assess the state,
scope, arrangements and efficiencies of the information industry, including
attendant constraints and shortcomings;
3) To inquire into the welfare needs of workers and staffers in the information sector;
4) To inquire into the integrity and adequacy of news and information in relation to
the needs of or on:
The Economy National Interest National Security Politics National
Processes (Referenda, Elections, Constitutional Exercises, Inquiries, etc, etc)
Citizenry, both Rural and Urban, Local and Diaspora Rights and Justice
Global Issues Gender, Marginalized Groups and Interests;

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 6

5) To assess the capacity and readiness of the Sector to compete regionally, globally;
6) To inquire into the opportunities and prospects for a content industry in
Zimbabwe;
7) To inquire into and evaluate the arrangements for, scope and quality of
information/media training proffered in the country; through skills audit, to gauge
the relevancy and responsiveness of such training to the needs of, and gaps in the
industry; to evaluate the adequacy of oversight of media training institutions;
8) To inquire into and assess the acceptance, adoption, uptake and integration of
converged technologies in the information sector;
9) To inquire into the values, ethics and standards of the media sector; to assess
current compliance and mechanisms of compliance enforcement; to gauge the
adequacy of protection of media freedoms; to determine how to balance media
freedoms and other freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution;
10) To inquire into issues of access, media ownership, media diversity and consumer
choices;
11) To inquire into media funding strategies and opportunities; to identify fiscal
constraints to the industry, as well as weaknesses if any, to current business
models and practices by players in the media industry;
12) To inquire into intra- and inter-media relations, and relational issues of the media
and:
Politicians Government and its officials Security structures Interest groups
Advertisers Businesses Consumers Sources and experts Donors and
foreign interests;
13) To inquire into how the industry can and should relate to larger national values,
programmes and interests;
14) To make recommendations on all of the above matters, and especially on how to
build a vibrant information and media industry for Zimbabwe;
15) Any other issues relevant to the industry.

Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services December 20, 2013

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 7

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS INFORMATION &
__________________
MEDIA PANEL OF
The Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI)
wishes to express profound gratitude for and INQUIRY
appreciation of the services rendered to the inquiry by
the following:

v All members of the public who attended the various IMPI public meetings
throughout Zimbabwe, often notified at short notice and always with enthusiastic
participation. Their responses to questionnaires were essential to this report.
v The various media organisations and stakeholders who participated in interviews,
filled in questionnaires, offered written submissions and attended public meetings
where they made invaluable contributions.
v Information officers within the Ministry of Information who rendered vital assistance
by managing the logistical aspects of the nationwide inquiry and organising meetings
for the IMPI Outreach Programme throughout Zimbabwes 10 administrative
provinces. They worked against heavy odds, often at short notice, and made it
possible for the IMPI panellists to engage audiences at a total of 88 venues
throughout the country.
v Ministry of Information drivers who ferried IMPI personnel to distant destinations
by traversing thousands of kilometres, all without a single calamity. In many
instances they navigated tough rural terrain and worked for long hours, all without
complaint.
v The IMPI team, comprising 25 panellists, who made sacrifices, often in difficult
circumstances, to make the IMPI initiative a success. Their task would have been
insurmountable without the relentless back-up of the IMPI secretariat of seven
programme or research officers, two secretaries, a driver and an office orderly.
v The various media and other organisations which released their members of staff,
some of them senior executives, for national service with IMPI for an inordinately
long period of time, during which they were often away from their work stations and
families.
v The Ministry of Information top brass for conceiving, implementing and funding the
IMPI programme. Two officers, one responsible for finance and the other for
administration, were seconded to IMPI from the Ministry of Information. They
rendered precious service.
v We wish to acknowledge the role of various Members of Parliament who displayed
an active interest in the activities of IMPI, while providing valuable support and
advice when the panellists visited districts in their constituencies.
v Finally, sincere thanks are due to the Southern African Research and Documentation
Centre (SARDC) for their meticulous analysis of the research material amassed by the
IMPI investigators and for professionally drafting this report. ___________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 8

CONTENTS INFORMATION &
____________ MEDIA PANEL OF
Section Page INQUIRY
Preface / TORs 3

Acknowledgements 8

Contents 9

Executive Summary 10

Introduction 31

Map 38

Chapter 1 Media as Business, including New Media Platforms 39

Chapter 2 Information Platforms and Content of Media Products 111

Chapter 3 Polarisation, Perception, Interference 146

Chapter 4 Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism 184

Chapter 5 Media Training and Capacity Building 219

Chapter 6 Gender, Advocacy and Marginalized Groups 285

Chapter 7 Employment and Conditions of Service 322

Chapter 8 Media Law Reform and Access to Information 349

Chapter 9 Technology Convergence in the Information Sector in


Zimbabwe 393

Chapter 10 Conclusions and Recommendations 417

Appendix 1 Profiles of IMPI Panellists 445

2 Acronyms/Abbreviations 456

ANNEX of
Submissions and Presentations by Stakeholders and Interest Groups 459

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 9

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INFORMATION &
__________________________
MEDIA PANEL OF
Report of the Official Inquiry into the
State of the Information and Media Industry INQUIRY
in Zimbabwe

The primary objective of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media
Industry in Zimbabwe was to identify, publicly highlight and propose measures for
redress of media issues that are clearly identifiable as matters of public concern and
interest, or areas of inadequacy, injustice or general poor performance, including legal
framework and operations, content and emerging technologies.
The full Terms of Reference on which the work of the Inquiry was based and which
inform this report, are contained in the Preface. The full title as shown above was
shortened by the panellists on commencement of the project to the more manageable
Information and Media Panel of Inquiry, or IMPI, as it became more commonly
identified.
To achieve its mandated objective, IMPI worked through a process of consultation
with the full spectrum of media and information sector stakeholders, ranging from
surprised villagers in remote areas, through print and electronic media executives and
leaders of professional media organisations, to training institutions, members of the legal
fraternity, and media-related civil society organisations, among others. Stakeholders
were invited to submit written presentations, and a large number responded positively.
The Panel of Inquiry worked through seven thematic committees, each comprising
four panel members. The 28 panellists representing a wide variety of media and
information stakeholders were appointed to the IMPI Board by the Ministry of Media,
Information and Broadcasting Services to inquire into and examine the status of
Zimbabwes media and information sector. The list of panellists is presented in the
Introduction that follows this Summary, and the panellists are profiled at the end of the
main Report (following Chapter 10).
The thematic topics for the committees were defined by the panellists in response to
the Terms of Reference, with the objective of conducting outreach research and
investigations among stakeholders nationwide. Methods employed were public outreach
inquiries, desk research, stakeholder interviews, questionnaires, and a regional study
tour.
For purposes of this programme the major stakeholders were identified as the public
who are the consumers of media products; the media sector, that is the publishing
houses, the electronic media, the advertising industry, media training institutions, and
professional media organisations; as well as related industries in the information sector,
performing arts, the legal profession, civil society organisations and the Government of
Zimbabwe.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 10

The vast amount of information thus collected was then reviewed and analysed in
plenary committee meetings and processed by the programme officers into outreach
reports and thematic reports, as well as files of thematic questionnaires. The information
so processed formed the basis of the material that a team of expert research analysts and
report drafters used to produce the report submitted by the Information and Media Panel
of Inquiry to the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services.
The IMPI work programme was implemented through the seven thematic
committees. Each committee was responsible for undertaking inquiries and research on
the respective subject. Four panellists were appointed to each committee with one
programme research officer. The thematic committees were defined as follows:

v Media as Business, including New Media
v Information Platforms and Content of Media Products
v Polarisation, Perception and Interference
v Media Training, Training Capacity and Ethics
v Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups
v Employment Opportunities and Conditions of service
v Media Law Reform and Access to Information.

Some of the challenges that IMPI encountered right from the commencement of
the inquiry served to highlight the reasons why Zimbabwe required the services of an
intervention such as IMPI in the first place. The project became a series of challenges from
the very day when its pending formation, which was originally scheduled for February
2014, was announced in December 2013. The sheer unexpectedness of this surprise
development created the initial element of challenge as mystified Zimbabweans struggled
to come to terms with both the objective and the context. Many organisations and
individuals were initially sceptical of the reasons and purpose of the IMPI exercise.
This ambitious project conducted research and sought opinions nationwide to
identify the challenges and opportunities for a sector that comprises newspapers, radio,
television, magazines, advertising agencies, online platforms and social media, and all
forms of communication and information exchange including the performing arts such as
theatre, drama, music and film. Thus, another challenge was the timeframe which had to
be extended until presentation of the report one year later, following analysis of the huge
volume of data and perspectives collected from outreach throughout the country. The
results of this extensive initiative are contained in the following report.
This Executive Summary highlights key issues that the IMPI panels identified in
the set thematic areas, and the solutions proposed. In the full report, each chapter presents
vital insights that need key interventions by state actors on one hand and all stakeholders
in the Zimbabwe media and information industry on the other. Specific recommendations
are presented at the end of each thematic chapter, and the main Recommendations
consolidated by topic are found in Chapter 10.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 11

1 Media as Business, including New Media Platforms

This chapter focuses on the business aspects of the print and electronic media, online
platforms, advertising agencies and outdoor media, book publishers, performing arts,
content producers, and film operations in Zimbabwe. The study sought to assess the
challenges and opportunities for business growth, as well as viability in the media and
information sectors, and to identify the business models used in Zimbabwe and elsewhere
in the region, as well as reviewing the historical development, the response to new media
platforms, and investment opportunities.
The theoretical framework is based on the social responsibility theory, and
analysis of the political economy, and media economics. This provides an understanding
of the traditional role of the media business to illuminate the changing media
environment. In many newsrooms, editors were traditionally not concerned about profit-
making. Their concern was to serve the public interest by informing, entertaining and
educating readers. However, that trend is changing. Editors now publish stories that are
intended to sell newspapers, attract and retain advertisers, and make profits. The bottom
line has surpassed the headline. While the media continue to perform a social
responsibility role, this is tempered by the desire to be profitable.
The report notes that Zimbabwe has a well-educated and literate population, so
the market is available; an organised industry that facilitates the need for advertising of
various products and services; and a culture of advertising ingrained in the economy.
However, the poor performance of the economy does not sustain the level of players in
the media industry, and the number of new entrants on the market has resulted in
decreasing circulation volumes as a result of diminishing disposable incomes and access
to new platforms. The downturn in the economic activity has resulted in a drastic
reduction in the levels of advertising by companies in industry and commerce as well as
other organisations, including the non-government sector.
Some media houses were reluctant to release information to the public domain
where it would be accessible to competitors, arguing that sharing strategic data could
jeopardise their competitive advantage. Therefore, the committee faced challenges in
obtaining actual data pertaining to circulation, viewership, listenership, advertising
volumes and revenue, advertising proportions for various media outlets, and other
critical business information. It is therefore suggested that media houses should register
with the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC), to use a standard measurement for net paid
sales which is checked and certified. Second, since the economy has been in a prolonged
recession, some companies were sceptical of the purpose of the IMPI exercise, and could
not trust one another or the exercise.
The national broadcaster, which has five radio stations and two television
channels, has been struggling financially and listeners were very critical of content as well
as sound and picture quality. However, the main challenge is access in large parts of the
country through weak transmission, and most communities in border areas access foreign
broadcasters.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 12

The industry has started to open up through licensing of two national commercial
free-to-air radio stations by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), and the
forthcoming digitisation conversion in 2015 will offer multiple channels. Transmedias
antiquated transmission equipment is seen as a main challenge by stakeholders, who
continue to be charged for transmission fees on a monthly basis while coverage is limited.
New media is impacting on the traditional sector, as a younger population uses
different forms of communication, and the industry in general has been slow to adapt.
The declining newspaper and magazine circulation volumes will persuade advertisers to
channel their business to online platforms that are inexpensive and focused in reaching
their target markets. The benefits offered by digitisation of the electronic media will
require a vast expansion in content production. However, the industry has not yet
prepared itself properly for the expansion of content production.
Partly due to the impact of political polarisation on the media, media
organisations have adopted inefficient business models such as procuring printing
equipment and operating distribution systems whose capacity utilisation levels are well
below 50 percent. This has led to high cost structures. All organisations in the media
industry are levied a fee of 0.5 percent on gross annual turnover by the Zimbabwe Media
Commission. The media industry like all companies has other statutory payments such as
Value Added Tax (VAT), corporate tax and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) income tax, and
many players therefore regard the media levy and other levies as double taxation.
Most businesses have been paralysed by the lack of affordable finance from banks
for recapitalisation and working capital, and this has had a devastating impact. The
industry is operating with outdated machinery and equipment in some cases, and this
adds to the costs of producing newspapers and affects the quality of broadcasting. While
online platforms are seen as the future of the media industry, the initial start-up costs are
proving expensive given the downturn in the economy. The faster the monetisation of the
various online applications is achieved and accepted by users, the more viable the online
platforms will become. However, the revenue generated from online platforms will not
support existing structures in the media organisations. Retrenchments and/or re-training
are inevitable, due to the skills required.
In addition to these challenges, there are a number of opportunities emerging. The
country has a young, literate and growing population which is likely to create a
significant market for the print and online media industry as the economy improves.
However, many young readers seldom read hard copies, but rely on social media.
Although the current media business models are inefficient and unsustainable, there are
opportunities to revamp them. The migration to online platforms presents new and broad
opportunities, especially for diversifying revenue streams. Digitisation of the electronic
media will generate formidable opportunities for radio and television stations, and for
convergence.
Despite the lack of reliable statistics on the performing arts in Zimbabwe, the
vibrancy of the industry, and notably the growth of the music industry, can be inferred
from such phenomena as the emergence of new independent labels in recent years, and
the ubiquity of live and recorded music performances. While other parts of the economy

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 13

were experiencing low capacity utilisation and firm closures, significant activity was
visible in the music sector. At a time when there were few advertisements circulating for
other products, newspapers regularly published advertisements for music shows. At the
height of the economic crisis when annual inflation escalated to unimaginable levels, any
business that could generate cash had advantages over those that sold on credit.
Popular music is now big business in Zimbabwe and employs large numbers of
people, with many more aspiring to join the industry, and some analysts say that more
than 20,000 households derive income from this industry. The industry can make a
significant contribution to the national economy if there is a well-coordinated and
designed system for reproduction and distribution, both locally and in export markets.

Recommendations Chapter 1 Media as Business
Recommendations for Media as Business are presented at the end of Chapter 1. These
include a stimulus package based on new business models for the newspaper industry;
recognition of magazine publishing as mainstream media, and start-ups for new media
platforms; establishment of a film commission or National Film Board to support the
industry; a unified association for content producers and writers, etc; training on
Intellectual Property for artists, law enforcement agents and the public to appreciate the
national importance of protection; strengthening of industry associations such as ADMA
and ZBPA to lead adaptation to new media platforms; adoption of smart ownership
models to enable investment in the expansion of internet-related infrastructure and
incorporate new media platforms; and linkage of digitisation with ZimAsset and the
governments indigenisation policy. At least two national studies are needed a) to
determine how audiences are adopting new media as a platform to consume media; and,
b) to evaluate the impact of citizen journalists and user-generated content on media
enterprises.

2 Information Platforms and Content of Media Products

The assignment for this thematic committee was to carry out a study on media platforms
and the public interest, quality, adequacy and relevance of the content of media products,
and the impact of fast-changing technologies on delivery and consumption of content.
One component deals with the nature and quality of media products, while the other
component reviews the channels for transmitting information, messages and forms of
entertainment.

Content of Media Products
Many people in all provinces, and especially in border areas, argued that they are cut off
from what is happening in the country as they have no access to local media, and are
forced to consume foreign information products. Some people subscribe to a digital
television service to receive the ZBC signal, which most respondents said is elusive in
their part of the country. Many stakeholders confessed their unwillingness to pay radio
and TV licenses, as they cannot access the services. Most people with access believe the

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 14

national broadcaster is doing a poor job, and also complain about paying licence fees,
together with the concern that foreign broadcasters have carved out their market share.
Many respondents said they have to rely on radio or television stations from
neighbouring countries (Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and Zambia) for news,
entertainment and current affairs. The local recipients of external services attested to
developing sensibilities closer to the nation hosting the station. The Voice of Americas
Studio 7 is the only platform with a national reach.
There were complaints about the poor sound quality of the radio signal, which
affects access to the content because listeners are unable to follow programmes. The
national broadcaster put the blame on Transmedia, which they said has failed to expand
transmitter coverage countrywide. Transmedia is a state-owned enterprise established to
support broadcasting and broadband infrastructure to enable access to communication
services throughout the country.
Newspapers are not readily available in rural areas, growth points and small
towns as they either reach there late, are too expensive, or dont come at all. Therefore,
people in those areas are outside the national information grid as they dont have reliable
sources of information and news. Inhabitants of rural areas do not talk about accessing
news on mobile phones, and this would be a necessary subject for a survey on trends.
There was general concern over the content of radio and television programmes,
with users saying that most content, when they can access it, is irrelevant. Some people
said they like ZBC radio and certain aspects of ZBC TV, and would appreciate regular
access. Others said the media have forgotten their obligation to inform, educate and
entertain. Viewers prefer more international exposure and news, but with a local
perspective. They expressed appreciation that local content was given preference but the
exclusion of all else became problematic.
Many people said the timing of TV programming is ill-prepared, that
inappropriate shows are screened at any time without warning, and that some are boring.
There is a belief and hope that in line with its constitutional obligations, the State should
license community radio stations that can address local matters more effectively than the
national broadcaster.
The results of the Inquiry indicate that education and development are important
subjects for media products, hence the need for media houses to deepen the quality of
programming. Respondents also said there is no business and financial reporting that
focuses on rural communities. The content of newspapers, radio and television is believed
to be too heavily politicised, and many people expressed the opinion that this is relatively
acceptable in an election year, but not all the time.
Content producers were accused of focusing on urban areas, rather than venturing
into rural areas to package stories and documentaries that touch the lives of the people.
Rural residents said they are unable to air their views and perspectives. The producers of
radio and television content argued that their organisations were not well-resourced with
vehicles and finance, and rural areas are often inaccessible due to the poor state of roads.
Reporters said they are hampered by a shortage of transport where they squash
into one vehicle yet they are expected to cover several different assignments in a day. The

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 15

shortage of resources exposes reporters to unethical payments now known as brown
envelopes and they are more likely to cover NGOs or politicians who offer them
transport or expenses.
Some listeners complained about explicit lyrics in music, which run counter to the
countrys cultural ethos. Producers said they would address this problem. Salacious
stories, sex scandals, and witchcraft are finding space in reputable family newspapers.
Misleading headlines often distort or overshadow the content of articles.
In terms of broadcast content, women said they do not hear their voices as most
interviews are with men. Programme producers said some women prefer to leave men to
comment while they remain in the background. People with disabilities said there is
virtually no coverage of issues that affect them except in instances where they are
highlighted as charity cases. They are not approached for comment on economic, social
and scientific issues, except when receiving a donation of wheelchairs or sunscreen
lotions.
There were complaints about the lack of creative programmes by and for children,
as in the case of radio lessons in the 1970s, as well as programmes that expose talent in
communities, especially through theatre. There were also complaints about the portrayal
of older people. It was felt that programme content presents a negative perspective of
elders rather than showing dignity and respect for their wisdom, knowledge and
storytelling.
People felt the media could be harnessed to be useful to those who do not have
access to books, as most local books are not yet available online. Another important
observation was that there are no radio dramas. People in both urban and rural areas felt
that radio stations are not making enough effort to incorporate community drama groups
into their programming. Sports events in rural areas and high density urban areas are not
covered by the media, as television and radio concentrate on sports in Harare or
Bulawayo. There is concern that talent in rural areas is not being discovered.
There were complaints that programmes on radio and television are packaged
mainly in Shona, English and Ndebele, while minority languages are ignored.

Information Platforms
There was little perception of information platforms as being inclusive of schools,
churches, political structures and other institutions that rely on interpersonal
communication within specific spaces. Oral communication remains an essential part of
information-sharing and the transfer of cultural knowledge, particularly in the rural areas,
and cannot be underestimated when dealing with forms and channels of communication.
There was recognition of the key role of government information officers as
communicators and general organisers in the community, notifying and bringing people
together as they did for the IMPI outreach, and providing a key information platform and
outreach mechanism.
With regard to the state of the governments own information system,
observations were made at several rural outreach meetings that the mobile film
broadcasting vans belonging to the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 16

Services are now defunct and should be revived in some form using modern technology,
and that district information offices are poorly resourced.
This IMPI outreach focused on platforms such as newspapers, radio, television
and social media, but the real power of social networks and the use of oral
communication in these networks or communities remains significant. This aspect offers
an indicator of the reasons why the transition from old to new media products is readily
embraced when available, even in rural areas, as it is more aligned with traditional forms
of communication, and more easily accessible.
Mobile phone technology is driving media innovation in Zimbabwe, surpassing
internet and transforming communication. The increased access to mobile technology has
led to a rise in citizen journalism while putting pressure on conventional media to adapt,
as a new platform exists where anybody can get information and news at any time on
their mobile devices. Mobile users can create and receive content on their own platform, a
device they own, and it is now possible to transfer money or get critical information about
agriculture, education and health issues in remote places.
Mobile companies no longer see themselves as telephone companies but as media
platforms and this is disrupting traditional media, particularly as Zimbabweans convert
to the mobile web. Total mobile subscribers reached 13.9 million at the end of June 2014,
raising the mobile penetration rate to 106.4 percent, as many individuals have more than
one mobile phone. The survey reveals that the most preferred media platform by the
public is still radio at 23 percent, followed by mobile phones (16 percent), and newspapers
(13 percent).
Competition among players is expected to improve the standard of production,
and give ZBC a reason to produce better quality programming. The content of media
products including newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and social media is subject
to the impact of the fast-changing technologies that deliver the content. Over the next five
to ten years, Zimbabwe is likely to be a changed country where people have a deeper
sense of how they can change their lives with technology.

Recommendations -- Chapter 2 Information Platforms and Content of Media Products
Recommendations for Information Platforms and Content of Media Products are presented at
the end of Chapter 2. The key recommendation is to improve access to media products
throughout the country, improving choice through various information platforms,
including community broadcasting and establishing community information centres as
focal points for content collection and dissemination. Performing arts such as theatre
should be used to disseminate information, as well as new technologies.
Many respondents believe that there is need for a complete overhaul of products
on local TV and that improved service will benefit all parties, as more people will access
the local stations and pay the fees, thus supporting viability of the national broadcaster.
The national broadcaster should be recapitalised with a mandate to inform, educate and
entertain, and improve programming quality. A three-tier broadcasting model should be
used for public, commercial and community broadcasting. ZBC should prepare for
digitisation through purchase of local programmes so the country is not flooded with

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 17

foreign content, and existing institutions such as the Film School and Production Services
must be strengthened in the context of modern technology.
Radio should resume education programmes for schools, and parliamentary
debates should be broadcast live. There must be more action to ensure that the languages
and cultures of various ethnic groups reflected in the Constitution have more visibility.
Family newspapers must publish decent content, and media must be a tool for nation-
building and not destruction.

3 Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference

This was one of the most topical thematic areas during the outreach programme. A total
of 42 outreach meetings were conducted in all 10 administrative provinces to solicit the
views of the public and stakeholders. The outreach discussions were combined with the
distribution of questionnaires to participants, and some stakeholders submitted written
reports or were interviewed by the committee. This chapter is therefore drawn from the
responses to questionnaires, the outreach reports, and the stakeholder interviews and
submissions.
The media has, since the late 1990s, mirrored the generally polarised environment
in the Zimbabwean society, which saw the public media supporting the government and
the ruling political party, while the private media generally gave an opposing perspective
supporting views dissenting from government. These perceptions spilled from the
editorial and opinion pages onto the news and features pages, to the selection of
international news and columnists, and on into entertainment and sports coverage. The
terms public and private media reinforce the notion of a polarised media landscape in
Zimbabwe, although professional ethics would require all to pursue a balanced
perspective, regardless of ownership.
Media are polarised by nature, as their intention is to provide access to
information from different perspectives, and to give the readers a choice of information
sources and opinions. If a degree of professional ethics is incorporated into the media
coverage, then this polarisation is channelled in the same manner that Parliament
channels the polarisation of political debate, giving a public platform for different
opinions and interests.
Various reasons were given during the outreach meetings for the media
polarisation, and common threads established. Participants felt that media polarisation in
Zimbabwe is mainly driven by political influence, business interests, editorial policies,
and the bribing of journalists to give positive coverage to some politicians or
businesspersons, or entertainers and sports personalities, while lambasting others.
This chapter unpacks the causes and effects of polarisation, interference and
perceptions in the information and media industry in Zimbabwe, as well as how these
have influenced the way in which the public views the media. The chapter provides a
broad range of opinion from key stakeholders and public, and offers recommendations on
how to improve the situation in the information and media industry with regard to
polarisation, interference and perceptions.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 18

Polarisation
The survey established that there is unanimity on the causes of polarisation, with that
associated with political party lines being dominant, as confirmed during the build-up to
the hosting of elections. The trend that emerges lends credence to the hypothesis that the
political dispensation has compounded polarisation in the media, with the media across
the spectrum of public and private media blamed for the selective coverage of their
favoured political players.
Polarisation has also compromised the ethical standards of journalism in the
country and the media has, therefore, fuelled the polarised environment. The media in
Zimbabwe are generally regarded by the public as manifestly corrupt and designed for
disinformation, propaganda and information cover-up, across the spectrum. There is no
longer a mass media publication of public record that is widely respected and regarded as
factual, as with The Herald through the decade of the 1980s into the 1990s, when the
opinion pages were fully separate to the news pages and clearly labelled.

Interference
Media interference can be broadly defined as the influencing or manipulation of journalists
and media outlets internally or externally, and from within or outside the country, to
facilitate favourable news content, production and presentation. These pressures on the
mainstream media exist in most countries for political, personal and economic reasons,
either subtle or blatant, and the main defence is professional ethical journalism and
knowledgeable, experienced editors who know the fine line between advice and
interference.
Mainstream professional journalism is always a trade-off, between the story and the
sources access to the information needed to explain a matter to the public, including
background information. This is not an easy profession, but it has carried respect and
authority in the past due to a perceived integrity and work ethic. Much of that respect has
been diluted and lost, globally, mainly for the same reasons that formed the basis of this
inquiry the conduct and ethics of journalism and media, and resilience of the profession
in a changing world.
Interference in the media comes from many directions, and those who interfere
often have personal, political or commercial interests in the way that content is generated,
packaged and presented. The interference may be crude or subtle, paid or unpaid, and the
response can be ingrained in media training or mentoring, as well as in active service.
Zimbabwes media have suffered multiple interferences from within the country,
as well as from external factors. Common forms of interference discussed here are legal,
self-censorship, interference by owners, proprietary and corporate interference,
corruption, and political interference, especially the perceived interference by the parent
Ministry with editorial activities at Zimpapers and ZBC.

Perceptions
The IMPI inquiry observed that perceptions of media bias affect the ability of individuals
and groups to properly assess the news content of various publications and broadcasters. It

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 19

is normal for different publications to present different perspectives, but some of the
responses suggested that all of the many newspapers and radio stations should present the
same perspective, whether public or private media. The challenge is in separating the
opinions from the news coverage. Both are normal components of the media, when clearly
identified.
As observed during the IMPI outreach meetings, in the form of attendance,
participation, and in some cases meetings that were disrupted, this clearly showed that
perceptions stand in the way of information dissemination in Zimbabwe. Some
participants perceived IMPI as a pro-government inquiry, ignoring the presence of
panellists from across the media spectrum, while others seized on the presence of
practitioners from the private media to reinforce their perception that this was an
opposition initiative.
There seemed to be little understanding that it would be possible for representatives
from public and private media to sit together to conduct a joint inquiry to assess and inform
the future of their profession and collect information about the information sector in
general, and the specific needs and ideas of the people of Zimbabwe. This showed that
users have more confidence in the messenger than the message, and choose to believe the
information delivered on the basis of who is delivering it. Perceptions fuel polarisation in
the media.

Recommendations -- Chapter 3 Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference
Recommendations for Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference are presented at the end of
Chapter 4. Key recommendations to address Polarisation focus on the need for professional
standards reflecting the ethics of journalism such as accuracy, integrity, correctness and
consistency, and fairness in media coverage, guided by one agreed Code of Ethics and a
common Media Training Curriculum; a statutory self-regulatory body with a complaints
system that is representative and mandatory; and the willingness of all stakeholders to
reduce polarisation.
Recommendations on Interference include public media that serve the interests of
the public and the nation; a code of ethics for proprietors, advertisers and business to avoid
corporate interference in the production and presentation of news; co-regulation of the
media is the preferred approach to deflect interference by owners, editors or journalists,
and promote media ethics, and it is recommended that Zimbabwe should adopt this model
that combines statutory and voluntary regulation using a common code; and inclusion of
non-interference in the media training curriculum.
Additional recommendations on Perceptions include depoliticising the media space
to improve both public confidence and editorial policies; a professional media community
developed through training, mentoring and shared experience; and improved working
conditions for journalists.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 20

4 Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism

Ethics and professional standards are applicable to specific challenges faced by journalists
in disseminating information to the public, often captured in a Code of Ethics which
contains the principles of truthfulness, accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and
public accountability. Such a code of professional standards normally specifically rules
out discrimination on the basis of gender, race, religion, or disability, and respects the
principle of innocent until proven guilty. The outreach found that readers and
audiences generally do not believe that these principles are upheld by the media in
Zimbabwe, both in print and television. Radio fared better as it was described by the
public as being less sensational.
There is no single body of rules or standards of ethics or professional behaviour to
guide Zimbabwean journalists in the practice of their profession in the way that doctors,
accountants, lawyers and other professionals have ethical standards to guide them,
although a few media organisations have crafted their own Codes of Ethics to guide
editorial operations.
It is apparent that there is some confusion over what constitutes a journalistic
Code of Ethics, different from a Code of Conduct. A Code of Conduct guides the
employment terms for employees of an organisation, while the Code of Ethics is a set of
standards that guide the practice of journalism. Different media organisations can have
different Codes of Conduct but one Code of Ethics should provide the standard of
professional practice for all journalists.
The closest to a national Code of Ethics is that developed by the Voluntary Media
Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), a self-regulatory body created by some media houses, and
although this is presented as a Code of Conduct, it is in fact a Code of Journalism Ethics.
The document is voluntary and is not enforced, even by publications that have agreed to
it, but could provide the basis for discussion of a binding national Code of Ethics, which
should be a priority outcome of this Inquiry. The VMCZ draft Code of Conduct/Ethics for
Zimbabwe Media Practitioners is included in this chapter, and the existing codes from
three other countries in the region are appended. The main points of the 1980 UNESCO
publication on press councils that reflected a general global agreement on basic principles
are also presented in this chapter.
There was considerable concern expressed by the public and within the profession
about the need for professional ethics in the media, and about corruption in the media,
with the strongly held view that ethics should be an integral part of the training
curriculum for journalists and media workers, as it is for other professions, and that
practitioners should be bound by a national Code of Ethics.
Generally speaking, there is a belief among Zimbabweans that standards of
journalism in the country have gone down and communities expressed this opinion
repeatedly during outreach meetings organised by IMPI. Issues raised were about ethics,
training, content, working conditions and media business, all with an ethical dimension.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 21

Recommendations -- Chapter 4 Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism
Recommendations for Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism are presented at the
end of Chapter 4. The main focus is on the need for a an agreed national Media Ethical
Code in which the minimum standards for balance, fairness and best practices are set out
clearly, and there was a consensus during public outreach sessions that there should be a
code of professional standards that all journalists adhere to. Another key recommendation
is that ethics should be the foundation of all media training in the country; and that all
media workers must agree to uphold these professional ethics. This Code is expected to
address corruption in the media at various levels, but another recommendation calls for
journalists to be paid decent salaries so that poor working conditions do not contribute to
corruption.

5 Media Training and Capacity Building

The committee was mandated to inquire into general media training and training
capacity-building through evaluating the arrangements for, scope and quality of
information/media training proffered in the country; as well as to gauge the relevance and
responsiveness of such training to the needs of the industry. The committee was further
tasked to inquire into the film industry and opportunities and prospects for the
development of a much-needed content industry in Zimbabwe, with emphasis on
investment and training.
The main methods used to gather data included public outreach meetings
throughout the 10 administrative provinces of Zimbabwe. General questionnaires were
distributed and collected, and individual interviews were also held with stakeholders. A
literature review was conducted, and desk research examined training and capacity-
building activities in the region and beyond. An examination of syllabi of various media
training centres and media research institutions nationwide was conducted, and the
committee also studied some training institutions in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.
There is a consensus in the information and media industry that the standard of
journalism and other media practices in Zimbabwe has plummeted to unprecedented
levels, and that training and capacity-building is an essential factor in rebuilding the
industry. The editors blamed training institutions for producing half-baked journalists
and media workers who cannot operate in the newsroom without re-training. Newsroom
mentoring has been depleted by the migration of skilled and more experienced
journalists.
Journalism trainers, on the other hand, say the newsrooms are responsible for
undoing all the good training they have given to new reporters. The trainers also blame
the decline in the standard of Zimbabwes primary and secondary school education for
the poor command of English, in particular, and poor general knowledge among newly
trained reporters. Trainees blame the lack of appropriate equipment, poorly stocked
libraries, and the inappropriately structured curricula in journalism training institutions.
Training aids in these institutions, especially for broadcasting, belie, rather than reflect,
the technological revolution.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 22

Although training institutions have grown numerically and even escalated in
status in recent years to levels of higher learning, the quality of the product -- that is,
the journalist -- from these institutions has fallen far short of industry requirements and
national or public expectation. It is a maxim that the decline in the quality of journalism in
Zimbabwe is in inverse proportion to the increase in the quantity of journalism training
institutions. There is no relationship between the numbers of journalists churned out
annually by training institutions and what the media industry can absorb. There is little
coordination among the training institutions, and requirements for registration are not
enforced as the Standards Development and Research Unit (SDERU) in the higher
education ministry was not properly constituted.
The media sector faces a basic training and skills crisis, well before one talks about
modernising those skills. Therefore this chapter includes a proposal for the establishment
of an independent national Journalism Training Academy to provide all levels and
aspects of media training, including various specialised training for holders of a first
degree.
The chapter explores in some detail all aspects of media training and capacity
building, with specific sections on the electronic media, programme quality, archiving,
and content producers, and appends their proposal for the establishment of a National
Film Board (NAFIB) to provide for the development of a dynamic, professional and self-
sustaining local film-making industry that is globally competitive.

Recommendations -- Chapter 5 Media Training and Capacity Building
Recommendations for Media Training and Capacity Building are presented at the end of
Chapter 5. A key recommendation is that Zimbabwe must establish its own School of
Journalism or transform one of the existing journalism training colleges into a Higher
Journalism Training Academy, including post-graduate degrees. The current situation
needs short, medium and long-term training through properly registered institutions with
strict conditions for licensing, and the revival of key existing institutions.
The Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services must take a greater
role in media and journalism training, alongside the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary
Education, Science and Technology, and establish a professional body to monitor training
standards in college, including review of training modules and procedures. There should
be a national media-training curriculum.
Special training facilities are needed for capacity-building of the broadcast
industry, with modern equipment and a multi-media approach to training; as well as
establishment of a National Film Board with training and capacity-building among its
responsibilities. Various challenges and funding mechanisms are explored, and the
committee urges media houses and media practitioners to take responsibility for their
own development. The comprehensive recommendations include management training
and staff development, career guidance, and in-house training and mentoring, in the
context of new media platforms and business models, and new forms of media
consumption. The recommendations of two leading media training institutions are
appended to this chapter.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 23

6 Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups

The study is an investigation of the representation, participation, coverage and portrayal


of women, children and marginalised groups in Zimbabwes media between January 2012
and June 2014, and broadly seeks to understand gender mainstreaming, disability
mainstreaming, discrimination, and the ethical coverage of marginalised groups. As
indicated by the title, this study does not exclude men, as any gender analysis considers
the role of both women and men in the society, and in this case, in the media and
information sector. By eliciting the views of the public, media practitioners and media
stakeholders, the study seeks to contribute to the evaluation of the state of the media in
Zimbabwe. Submissions and interviews with various stakeholders are presented in the
chapter, with profiles and perspectives.
The chapter explores gender definitions and theories, and provides a legal framework
with relevant sections of the Constitution and the SADC Protocol on Gender and
Development, as well as a section on marginalised groups, as social exclusion
characterises contemporary forms of social disadvantage and relegation within the society
of people with disabilities, women, children and others. The chapter is based on the
following research questions and objectives:
Research questions
Is gender adequately mainstreamed in Zimbabwes media?
What forms of gender discrimination are prevalent in Zimbabwes media?
How do Zimbabwes media ethically cover and promote the coverage of marginalised
groups?
Are Zimbabwes media playing an effective role in advocating for the rights of
marginalised groups?
Research objectives
o To investigate the extent of gender mainstreaming in Zimbabwe;
o To explore the forms of gender discrimination in Zimbabwes media;
o To explore the coverage by the media of all marginalised groups -- women, children
and people living with disabilities; and,
o To explore the role played by the media in advocating for marginalised groups.
Fair gender portrayal in the media should be a professional and ethical aspiration,
similar to respect for accuracy, fairness and honesty. Yet, unbalanced gender portrayal is
widespread, and often accepted as the norm. Women and marginalised groups are far less
likely than men to be featured in news headlines, and to be relied upon as spokespeople
or as experts. Certain categories of women, such as single mothers, older women, or
those belonging to ethnic minorities, are even less visible. Yet women make up 52 percent
of the population of Zimbabwe.
Stories of womens achievements are seldom presented, nor are their views and
perspectives often sought by the media, and women are often shown scantily clad in
programmes or advertising. What message is sent to society about women? The chapter
explores various issues including stereotypes, work environment, board requirements,
training and the arts, as well as various forms of sexual harassment of women in the
media by colleagues, bosses, and even news sources, and what to do about it.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 24

Recommendations -- Chapter 6 Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups
Recommendations for Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups are presented at the end
of Chapter 6. The main recommendation is that the dignity and equal rights of men,
women, children and marginalised groups as enshrined in the Constitution must be
upheld in the media and by the media.
Other recommendations cover mainstreaming, a multi-sectoral approach, the target of
50:50 women representation in decision-making by 2015 agreed by leaders of the African
Union and SADC, of which Zimbabwe is currently the chair; equal representation on
boards and shareholding, gender issues in training and in newsrooms, mentorship, input
to a collective Media Code of Conduct, and awareness and enforcement of a legal
framework for sexual harassment including a complaints act. Among the
recommendations is the establishment of a television channel that celebrates deaf culture,
similar to Deaf TV in South Africa.

7 Employment and Conditions of Service

The media and information sector in Zimbabwe has over the past few years revealed the
challenging conditions of service of media practitioners, including journalists, musicians,
artists and actors seeking to earn a livelihood. With Zimbabwes economy largely isolated
from the world over the past decade and a half, due to economic sanctions and the
political impasse with the international community, the local media and information
sector has not thrived. The local industry has not been viable. As a result, the conditions
of service have not improved and employment levels have remained low.
Hundreds of media and information practitioners graduating from the countrys
colleges and universities have remained unemployed despite the introduction of new
newspapers and radio stations. The high number of freelance journalists in Zimbabwe is
more a result of a lack of employment opportunities than a matter of choice, particularly
for the new graduates who are deemed inexperienced.
The media and information sector, particularly insofar as journalists and artists are
concerned, has failed to fully professionalise when it comes to improving conditions of
service. Supporting staff such as engineers and ICT specialists have professional
associations that help to maintain a conducive working environment. Shortcomings facing
media and information workers include areas such as lack of negotiating skills, vague or
verbal contracts, low take it or leave it performance fees in the case of artistes, and no
insurance cover.
This high cost of doing business in Zimbabwe is impacting the ability of media
houses to improve conditions of service and recruit more journalists. Until such time that
media organisations can improve their business, the sector will continue to face problems
in improving working conditions and creating employment opportunities, and challenges
may continue in guaranteeing the best conditions of service.
Outreach observations in this chapter present stakeholder views on remuneration
and benefits, employment, safety, qualifications, business, technology, language and

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 25

culture, intellectual property, and legislation. The legal framework presents the section of
the Constitution on The Right to Work Under Satisfactory Conditions.
The chapter also explores the working conditions for journalists and the context of
the Labour Relations Act, including sexual harassment of women in the workplace, and
explores employment creation in the cultural industry, including working conditions,
artists and intermediaries, intellectual property and piracy, as well as promotion of
employment through economic empowerment in the culture sector.
The media are among the few professional industries that have failed to take
advantage of the provisions of the law on the creation of a National Employment Council
(NEC) for their industry as envisaged in Part VIII of the Labour Act [Chapter 28:01].
Section 56 of the Labour Act provides for a voluntary Employment Council, and a
statutory one can be formed in terms of Section 57 of the same Act by way of ministerial
directive.
Consultations to create a National Employment Council (NEC) for the media
industry have not been successful because employers have not set up a publishers
association which would be a negotiating partner. The only option is to push for a
statutory NEC, which would be the first of its kind.
The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) initiated the process to establish a
voluntary NEC for the media industry in 2006. A lot of groundwork was done,
culminating in the development of a constitution for the NEC but no National Employer
Association exists, thus creating a stalemate. Yet the values and purposes of the Labour
Act are best served through the establishment of a NEC for the media industry. The
Zimbabwe Graphical Workers Union, which represents workers in the Printing,
Packaging and Newspaper Industry, does not cover journalists. A summary of the ZUJ
paper on establishment of a NEC is appended to this chapter.

Recommendations -- Chapter 7 Employment and Conditions of Service
Recommendations for Employment and Conditions of Service are presented at the end of
Chapter 7. The main recommendation is that the media industry needs a National
Employment Council, including a proposal to adopt a results-based Action Plan with
targets and a timeframe of six months for the establishment of a NEC.
Other recommendations cover media laws, an industry code and employment
code, recruitment policy and personal development, prevention of discrimination and
sexual harassment, enabling environment to access information held by public and
private bodies, editorial independence of public broadcasting, and keeping pace with new
technology.
Recommendations for the music and culture industries include, among others,
enforcement of the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act; sophisticated marketing and
distribution techniques; investment and financing to address employment opportunities
through an Artistes Fund to provide loans/grants/scholarships; empowerment of the
National Art Gallery, faster payments and disbursement of royalties to artists, and review
of royalties, empowerment of independent producers and a levy on foreign films. This
chapter contains a section of eight recommendations on digitisation including upgrading

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 26

and expansion of services, workshops with media players, special training and re-
training, skills analysis, review of business models, and the linkage of digitisation to
ZimAsset and the governments indigenisation policy to offer opportunities for local
businesses.

8 Media Law Reform and Access to Information

This chapter is a reflection of the findings of the thematic committee on Media Law
Reform and Access to Information, from the various inquiry processes that the committee
engaged in. As with the other panels, this committee officially began its inquiry on April
4, 2014, and used various methods of obtaining public and stakeholder sentiments on
media law reforms and access to information, as described below.
The inquiry, whose commissioning came at a time when Zimbabwe had ushered
in a new Constitution, was very timely, as government was faced with the need for re-
alignment of laws. The new Constitution was being celebrated by the media sector in
Zimbabwe in view of the ample recognition of fundamental rights relevant to the media
such as freedom of expression, freedom of the media and access to information, etc. This
was also a time when the various courts in the country were inundated with cases related
to media freedom and aspects of freedom of expression. Some cases had also been filed at
the Constitutional Court.
Stakeholders, including the media, were clamouring for urgent movement
towards aligning media laws to the new Constitution, and the parent ministry also made
observations that pointed to the need for reform of some media laws. Particularly notable
were comments made by the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services
on the need for expunging the criminal defamation laws. It was therefore evident that
there was need for a review of the requisite reforms to the media laws and access to
information regime, but also varied perceptions on what the countrys media legislation
should and should not comprise of. This was a good opportunity to open the process for
public and stakeholder input on how the countrys media laws should be framed.
Against that background, the committee inquired into the status and impact of the
current laws on fundamental media freedoms and on access to information, with a view
to producing a perspective informed by the public and the relevant sectors. In
undertaking this inquiry, the committee looked into a number of laws including:
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act [Chapter 10:27] (AIPPA],
Broadcasting Services Act [Chapter 12:06],
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23],
Censorship and Entertainments Control Act [Chapter 10:04],
Interception of Communications Act [Chapter 11:20], and,
Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:05, among others.
This chapter reviews the legal framework starting with the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Act No. 20 of 2013, particularly Chapter 4, Part 2, Section 61 on Freedom of Expression
and Freedom of the Media and Section 62 on Access to Information, as well as Chapter 12,
Part 5 on the Zimbabwe Media Commission Sections 249-251. The chapter presents a

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 27

summary of findings on access to information, freedom of expression, media regulation,
broadcasting, and protection of intellectual property, as well as presenting the case for
legal reform, including the legal arguments. Some emerging issues are presented for
broadcasting, licensing, freedom of expression, application of the law, access to
information, regulation of the media, and privacy, freedom of expression and
surveillance.

Recommendations -- Chapter 8 Media Law Reform and Access to Information
Recommendations for Media Law Reform and Access to Information are presented at the end
of Chapter 8. The main recommendation is the need for review of existing media laws in
line with the Constitution, including on issues to do with media regulation, and removal
of all penal measures and criminalisation. Another recommendation proposes co-
regulation by the media and the Zimbabwe Media Commission.
Other recommendations address the broadcasting sector, including convergence,
digitisation, transmission, content, governance, licensing, and community broadcasting.
Recommendations on Access to Information address AIPPA, the Official Secrets Act,
Board of Censors, and privacy, surveillance and freedom of expression, including the
Interception of Communications Act.

9 Technology Convergence in the Information Sector in Zimbabwe

This submission on the convergence of technologies for information delivery, deals


primarily with issues of digital or electronic convergence and how it is impacting on the
information sector in Zimbabwe. The paper analyses the technological trends, and
presents the key issues fundamental to transforming the industry into a formidable force
in the media and information sector. The benefits brought about by digital convergence,
the drawbacks and some suggestions to overcome the challenges are discussed, together
with some suggestions on policy direction that government may consider for adoption in
order to shape Zimbabwes media and information landscape.
Not so long ago in Zimbabwe, if one wanted to listen to radio, one would need a
radio receiver to do that a TV receiver to watch television pictures or movies a
computer to type and receive electronic mail a physical paper-based diary to schedule
appointments a big alarm clock to wake you up a telephone to make a phone call a
pager to send and receive SMS messages a photographic camera to take still pictures
a video camera to record video a video cassette recorder to playback videos or movies
hired from the video shop an audio cassette recorder or the once popular walkman to
listen to music cassettes the list is endless. These are just but few examples to illustrate
the long road traversed before the phenomenon of convergence came about.
It seems like a fairy tale to tell a teenager in Zimbabwe today, that once upon a
time, it was indeed necessary to carry around a separate camera, music player or
walkman and a physical diary for appointments, it just seems so unreal, cumbersome
and old fashioned but in reality that is in fact what happened as late as the year 2000, at
the turn of the century, and it remains so for some parts of Zimbabwe.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 28

Fast forward to 2014, all the tasks highlighted in the above paragraph and more
can be magically accomplished in just one single device running multiple applications,
using a mobile phone. Sometimes the tasks can be accomplished simultaneously at
lightning speed. The rate at which the technology has evolved can be a positive thing for
any developing country or it can equally be disastrous for the developing world if not
systematically harnessed in a structured way or in an environment where the regulations
are not responding to the needs of the consumer an undesirable state of affairs for any
developing country.
This chapter offers definitions and defines opportunities presented by technology,
and reviews emerging patterns of information consumption in Zimbabwe, including
social media. The chapter argues that Zimbabwe is fertile ground for digital convergence,
and explores the legal framework. The chapter is well-illustrated and provides a digital
roadmap to the new technology information sector in the country.
The arguments presented in this chapter require that media organisations in
Zimbabwe rethink existing assumptions about the way in which information is being
consumed by the end-user customer, as these affect marketing and programming
decisions at a content level and strategic investment direction at a business level.
The effect of what is happening with media convergence is more than just an
ordinary shift in technology. It fundamentally alters the rules of the game and thereby
redefining relationships between industries, the technologies involved, audiences,
ownership structures and markets. Due to the way that content is being consumed on
multiple devices by viewers the world over, this calls for meaningful strategic
partnerships, mergers and acquisitions. Alliances across industries in Zimbabwe have
become more viable as a result of this development and hence the need for further
business exploration in the digital media business.
Further, the digital convergence requires that legislators develop new policies that
respond positively to emerging market trends in support of the changing consumer
behaviour. A regulatory regime that aims to break the barriers of entry, break the silos
and encourage the unhindered free flow of information in line with international
standards is what is needed to take Zimbabwes media experience to another level.

Recommendations Chapter 9 Technology Convergence in the Information Sector in
Zimbabwe
Recommendations for Technology Convergence in the Information Sector in Zimbabwe are
presented at the end of Chapter 9. The main recommendation is that Zimbabwe must
introduce a multi-media school and equip journalists with multiple skills for deeper
appreciation of technology convergence and use of multiple devices, and must introduce
the use of electronic gadgets through e-learning at primary schools and in rural areas.
A national study of how audience are adopting digital as a platform to consume
media is urgent and critical.
Unified legislation is needed, multi-service licenses should be introduced for
broadcasters, and content producers must prepare their work for multiple outlets,
including internet and mobile.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 29

The booming smartphone industry in Zimbabwe must be supported with the
promotion of social media applications, smart ownership structures adopted and
facilitated, triple-play services introduced, and over time, free Wi-Fi introduced to
promote access to information and government e-services.

10 Conclusions and Recommendations

Each thematic chapter contains the recommendations from its relevant committee, which
are presented at the end of each chapter, as indicated above. The key recommendations
from all of the chapters are consolidated and presented by topic in Chapter 10 as IMPI
recommendations. These are a consolidation from various committees that responds to
the Terms of Reference for An Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media
Industry in Zimbabwe.
The general Conclusion is that the components are in place for a vibrant
information and media industry in Zimbabwe that can relate to national values and
compete in regional and international markets, retain and protect intellectual property,
generate high-quality content, provide employment and generate sustainable profits,
protect and project women and marginalised groups, respond to and develop new
technologies, and use and protect the freedoms guaranteed in the Constitution.
But there is work to do. These components are scattered. In order to respond
adequately and creatively to the emerging opportunities, it is necessary for the media and
information sector to:
} engage each other, communicate more among ourselves about what we want
and consolidate structures to facilitate that;
} engage with government through the Ministry of Information, Media and
Broadcasting Services, which is in fact a part of the sector;
} engage with stakeholders and users to hear their views and tap into their
ideas, a process facilitated by new media platforms;
} be more creative in generating and marketing content and seeking resources
through the many possibilities available; and,
} work together to develop infrastructure to reach the entire country and
beyond. That is... listen to... and hear... the lady in the rural areas who pleaded
for access to local information, newspapers, radio and television If I say
good morning, I want to be heard at the same time throughout the country.

Appendix
Profiles of IMPI Panellists, a list of Acronyms and Abbreviations, are appended to this
Report.

Annex
Submissions and Presentations by Stakeholders and Interest Groups are provided in the
Annex.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 30

INTRODUCTION INFORMATION &
___________________ MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY
The full title of the Official Inquiry into the State of the
Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe was
shortened by the panellists on commencement of the project to the more manageable
Information and Media Panel of Inquiry, or IMPI, as it became more commonly
identified.
The primary objective of IMPI was to identify, publicly highlight and seek redress on
media issues that are clearly identifiable as matters of public concern and interest, or
areas of inadequacy, injustice or general poor performance. The full Terms of Reference
on which the work of the Inquiry was based and which inform this report, are contained
in the Preface.
From Independence to 2013, Zimbabwe had not conducted any systematic or
comprehensive inquiry into the state of the Information sector, except for one or two
consultancy reports on public information and the National Survey on Broadcasting in
Zimbabwe in 2003, both of which had a narrow focus on subsectors. So from the strictly
practical media point of view, the creation of an initiative such as IMPI was eminently
prudent and long overdue, covering as it did pertinent issues such as the conduct and
ethics of journalism and the media, and resilience of the profession in a changing world.

Methodology

At the inception of IMPI, the Ministry of Information appointed a total of 28 panellists,
with myself, as a well-known investigative journalist, newspaper editor and author,
serving as chairperson. Thembelihle Khumalo, who has worked in the media for 15 years,
was appointed deputy chairperson.
To achieve its mandated objective, IMPI worked through a process of consultation
with the full spectrum of media and information sector stakeholders, ranging from
surprised villagers in remote areas, through print and electronic media executives and
leaders of professional media organisations, to training institutions, members of the legal
fraternity, and media-related civil society organisations, among others. Stakeholders
were invited to submit written presentations, and a large number responded positively.
The Panel of Inquiry worked through seven thematic committees, each comprising
four panel members. The committees were established for the purpose of conducting
outreach research and investigations among all stakeholders nationwide in the special
areas to which each committee was assigned.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 31

For purposes of this programme the major stakeholders were identified as the public,
as the consumers of media products; the media industry, that is the print media
companies, the broadcast media, the advertising agencies, media training institutions,
professional media organisations; and the information sector including independent
producers, performing artists and cultural organisations; as well as the legal profession,
civil society, and the Government of Zimbabwe.
The vast amount of information thus collected was then reviewed and analysed in
plenary committee meetings and processed by the programme officers into outreach
reports and thematic reports, as well as files of thematic questionnaires. The information
so processed formed the basis of the material that a team of expert research analysts and
report drafters relied upon to produce this report as submitted by the Panel of Inquiry to
the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, along with the
recommendations based on the report.

IMPI Thematic Committees

IMPI panellists identified seven thematic areas drawn from the Terms of Reference, and
served as members of the seven thematic committees whose findings form the chapters of
this report. The IMPI programme was implemented through these seven thematic
committees, which were constituted as follows:
u Media as Business, including New Media
u Information Platforms and Content of Media Products
u Polarisation, Perception and Interference
u Media Training, Training Capacity and Ethics
u Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups
u Employment Opportunities and Conditions of Service
u Media Law Reform and Access to Information.
Four panellists were appointed to each committee, supported by one programme and
research officer (See List at the end of this Introduction and Profiles at end of the Report). Each
committee was responsible for undertaking inquiries and research on the respective
subject.
The thematic area of the media as industry was addressed by the committee on
Media as Business, including New Media, while media content and delivery was the
focus for the thematic area of Information Platforms and Content of Media Products.
One of the committees was mandated to inquire into the issues of Polarisation,
Perception and Interference, and the relationship between sections of the media and
government.
Another committee investigated Media Training and Training Capacity as well as
Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism. These are separated into two chapters
for purposes of this report.
Cognisant of the media challenges in presentation of women and marginalised
groups, as well as those of women employed in the media, a committee was devoted to
Gender, Advocacy and Marginalized Groups.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 32

Employment and Conditions of Service had its own committee of inquiry, and a
chapter in this report.
The legal framework for the media and information sector was addressed by a
committee on Media Law Reform and Access to Information.
Chapter 9 comprises a special submission on Technology Convergence in the
Information Sector in Zimbabwe, analysing the linkages and impact of new and
emerging technologies.
Each chapter presents recommendations for the specific thematic area, and the key
consolidated recommendations of the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) are
contained in Chapter 10 of this report.
There are a number of annexes of various kinds. Each chapter has specific
material appended that is directly relevant to the content, and this report also has an
Appendix profiling the IMPI panellists. Due to the length and quality of the submissions
from stakeholders, we decided that these documents should be available in full for
reference, and these are presented as a full Annex to this report entitled Annex of
Submissions and Presentations by Stakeholders and Interest Groups.
The IMPI work was conducted through the nationwide deployment of an Outreach
Programme, implemented by the seven designated thematic committees. The committees
were designed to inquire into a broad spectrum of media industry and information
sector-related institutions, issues and interests through the Outreach Programme made
up of public meetings, questionnaires and submissions.
The 28 panellists representing a wide variety of media stakeholders were appointed
by the Ministry of Information to inquire into and examine the status of Zimbabwes
media and information sector over a period of four months, initially stretching from
March to June, 2014. The timeframe was then amended to cover a period stretching from
April to July, 2014.
On realisation that the IMPI programme was too ambitious and could not
realistically be compressed into a four-month period due to the logistics involved in
reaching all provinces, the deadline was stretched by a further two months. In the final
analysis, the IMPI mandate was to end in September, 2014, a total of six months. After
this date, a process of analysis and drafting began that covered the last quarter of the
year, with the final report submitted in December 2014.
Two panellists resigned in April, citing an insurmountable pressure of work
resulting from the combination of responsibilities at their work place and the enormity of
the required commitment to the IMPI undertaking.
The IMPI survey was painstakingly accomplished through conducting interviews
with scores of stakeholders and interested members of the public and the convening of 88
public meetings throughout Zimbabwe, as well as through the distribution of
questionnaires, including on the Internet. The thematic committees travelled widely
throughout Zimbabwes 10 provinces in the process of gathering information.
Various media stakeholders were engaged, mostly in Harare and, to a lesser extent,
in Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru. The companies included major stakeholders in the
printing and publishing industry, such as Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd, the

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 33

countrys largest newspaper publishing company, with more than 100 years in the
printing and publishing business; Alpha Media Holdings, with four newspapers in the
market; and Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), recently re-launched after 10
years following a government ban on its flagship publication, Daily News, in September
2003.
IMPI engaged stakeholders in the broadcasting sector, dominated by the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation, with five radio and two television stations in an under-
performing broadcast media sector. Smaller players which were recently launched in that
sector are Star FM owned by Zimpapers and ZiFM by African Business Communication.
Amid a widespread outcry about the sub-standard quality of journalism in
Zimbabwe, the panel interrogated officials in training institutions, primarily in Harare,
Bulawayo and Gweru, including the main journalism training schools, as well as at
tertiary institutions which offer courses in media studies. The report found that
stakeholders in Zimbabwes media sector generally agree that, although Zimbabwean
journalists go into the field with some training, their level of reporting is below average.
Numerous reports on the state of media in Zimbabwe with requisite
recommendations on the revamping of training institutions and practices have been
submitted over the years. Unfortunately, little or nothing has been done to implement
those recommendations. Predictably, misgivings were voiced repeatedly that the
proposed recommendations by IMPI would not be treated any differently by the
authorities. A number of disparaging pronouncements were either published in the press
or forwarded directly to IMPI, which dismissed the mandate as an ill-conceived waste of
precious taxpayers money.
The consultations for the information sector covered a wide range of organisations
and institutions throughout the country, including arts and culture organisations,
authors and performing artists, and independent producers, as well as those related to
the Ministry. Among the submissions received by IMPI in this regard was a full proposal
for the establishment of a National Film Board.
Finally, the issues of convergence and the opportunities of rapidly changing
technology are addressed in a special submission commissioned by IMPI and presented
here as Chapter 9. For example, many people now source information via new media
platforms through their mobile phones. In addition, the digital migration set for 2015,
known as digitisation, may be the biggest revolution in broadcasting since the inception
of television in Zimbabwe in 1960. This analysis gives a holistic overview of where we are
and the heights we can achieve if we incorporate and capture these opportunities in the
media and information sector in Zimbabwe.

Challenges

Some of the challenges that IMPI encountered right from the commencement of the
project serve to highlight the reason why Zimbabwe required the services of an
intervention such as IMPI in the first place. The project became a series of challenges from
the very day when its pending formation was announced in December 2013. The sheer

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 34

unexpectedness of this surprise development, originally scheduled for February 2014,
created the initial element of challenge as mystified Zimbabweans struggled to come to
terms with both the objective and the context in a nation easily given to political suspicion
and media polarisation.
This surprise initiative by the new Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting
Services, then six months old, invited mixed reaction and comment from inception, many
of them negative and detrimental to its welfare.
The fact that the newly created Ministry was headed by Professor Jonathan Moyo,
who in an earlier tenure in the same office had been publicly regarded as the architect of
a campaign targeting sections of the private press, served to create suspicion in that
section of the press about the motivation of the undertaking, notwithstanding the
appointment of several editors and executives from the private sector of the media to sit
on the IMPI panel.
There was a perception in some media circles that any initiative sponsored by the
Government of Zimbabwe was inherently suspicious and dubious, never mind how well-
intentioned, despite the post-July 31 atmosphere of visibly diminishing media
polarisation through overtures by Minister Moyo and his team to build rapport with all
sections of the media.
So deep-seated was the polarisation and mutual mistrust in the media that it
permeated the ranks of the IMPI panellists. Fears were openly expressed that the
members of the panel, including myself as Chairperson of IMPI, might have been bribed
as a prelude to promoting some unspecified political agenda. The same sentiment was
expressed in several newspaper articles, with regard to the rest of the original list of 28
panellists, forcing the panel to devote a fair amount of its initial effort to fire-fighting
before it was formally established. Such negative sentiments were expressed despite an
abundance of evidence that the myriad problems plaguing Zimbabwes media and
information sector needed to be tackled in a robust manner.
The Zimbabwe Media Commission, which should have been a key participant in this
important exercise to collect views and ideas on shaping the future of the information
sector and the media industry in Zimbabwe, declined the invitation to participate,
despite having the same parent ministry, indicating that their response was solely to do
with the issue of the standing and functions of both organisations. Their letter dated July
14, 2014 made reference to Sections 248 to 251 of the Constitution, as well as Sections 235,
and Sections 39 and 50 to 52 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
stating that, Taking all these provisions into account, it would appear as if IMPI is
duplicating the ZMCs mandate. IMPI replied to their letter but proceeded without
input from the ZMC.
Writing from the UK, the editor of an online newspaper, also slammed IMPI on
behalf of the ZMC, saying it was operating with a stolen mandate, despite the mandate
having been granted by the same parent ministry, the Ministry of Information, Media
and Broadcasting Services.
Our response was brief: We prefer that we are judged on the content of the report
that will soon be submitted to the Ministry and thereafter will be placed in the public

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 35

domain so that Zimbabweans at home and abroad can comment on its content. The
editor replied with a terse response: Thanks, it all makes sense.
As part of the inquiry, the IMPI panellists visited four countries in the SADC region -
- Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The Lusaka-based Panos Institute Southern
Africa had the most positive outlook of the whole period of inquiry, saying that IMPI was
a step in the right direction for the development of Zimbabwes media sector and an
opportunity for different stakeholders to contribute to a strong and vibrant media sector.
The work of the panel is very much in line with our strategic efforts to support the
development of a strong and vibrant media sector in Southern Africa, Panos said. As a
regional communication for development organisation, we believe that a strong media
sector is critical for overcoming the various challenges currently affecting Zimbabwe. We
believe that when people have access to development information, it is easier for them to
participate in development processes.
As the IMPI process was drawing to a close, Minister Moyo convened a meeting to
compare and exchange notes with senior journalists and stakeholders on current affairs.
The meeting took place on Thursday, September 11, 2014. Writing in the Editors Memo
column the following day, the editor of The Zimbabwe Independent, Dumisani Muleya, one
of the IMPI panellists, described the framework and tenor of the meeting [as] friendly
and the dialogue reflective. ...Moyo kept on saying government was not out to fight
anyone, but to discuss how to engage constructively and tackle ethical challenges in the
media.
The IMPI mandate was a formidable undertaking, and we have tried to engage
constructively in the preparation of this report, while presenting honestly the wide range
of views expressed through submissions and received by thematic committees during
outreach. The length of the submissions presented a challenge to the inclusion of
everything in one volume, but due to the quality of submissions and the work put into
them by the various stakeholders, we have decided to produce the full submissions as an
Annex to this report.



Geoffrey Nyarota, Chairperson,
Information and Media Panel of Inquiry December 2014

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 36

Thematic Committee Members and Programme/Research Officers

Media as Business, including New Media


Committee Members Sharon Samushonga (Chair)
Jacob Chisese
Pikirayi Deketeke
Bester Zambuko
Programme/Research Officer Gloriah Ganyani

Information Platforms and Content of Media Products


Committee Members Dr Nhamo Mhiripiri (Chair)
Peter Banga
Cont Mhlanga
Dumisani Muleya
Programme/Research Officer Grace Mutandwa

Polarisation, Perception and Interference


Committee Members Vincent Kahiya (Chair)
Constantine Chimakure
Stanley Gama
Gift Mambipiri
Programme/Research Officer Sibusisiwe Dube

Media Training, Training Capacity and Ethics


Committee Members Susan Makore (Chair)
Cris Chinaka
Justice Douglas Dhliwayo
Geoffrey Nyarota
Programme/Research Officer Alphonce Farayi Chimbindi

Gender, Advocacy and Marginalised Groups


Committee Members Chris Chivinge (Chair)
Thembelihle Khumalo
Plaxedes Wenyika
Fungisai Zvakavapano-Mashavave
Programme/Research Officer Nobukhosi Mutangadura

Employment Opportunities and Conditions of Service


Committee Members Foster Dongozi (Chair)
Tsitsi Mabukucha
Rangu Nyamurundira
Programme/Research Officer Columbus Mavhunga

Media Law Reform and Access to Information


Committee Members Jacqueline Chikakano (Chair)
Brian Mangwende
Priscilla Munangati
Programme/Research Officer Oliver Gawe

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 37

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 38

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

CHAPTER 1

MEDIA AS BUSINESS, INCLUDING NEW MEDIA PLATFORMS

Report of the Thematic Committee on

Media as Business

PANELISTS

Sharon Samushonga, Committee Chairperson

Jacob Chisese

Pikirayi Deketeke

Bester Zambuko

Programme /Research Officer

Gloriah Ganyani

IMPI

Institutionally, the information sector
is fragmented. It is structured as if
convergence is still to happen,
CONTENTS structured as if we still live in an era
where telecommunications, print and
CHAPTER 1 broadcasting; where voice, image and
word, still exist apart and in distinct,
1. Introduction impenetrable compartments.

2. Literature Review and While technology has converged, the
Theoretical Framework business models, the regulatory
models, the taxation models, the
3. History of the Media Industry
in Zimbabwe institutional models all these have
not, and do not seem to see the need to.
4. Media Industry Composition and
Challenges Publishers have no common forum.
Editors have no cross-cutting forum.
5. Media as Business and State of the There is no institutional vehicle for
Industry meaningful regular contact between
content merchants and backbone
5.1 Print Media operators. ADMA which is supposed
5.2 Broadcasting
to provide a link between publishers
5.3 Advertising
5.4 Music Industry and advertisers hardly works as a
5.5 Film Industry source of impetus for growth.
5.6 Content Producers, Arts and
Theatre What is worse, industry-wide
5.7 Writers and Book Publishers
structures for lobbying Government
for hospitable policies and tax
6. New Media
concessions and funding do not exist.
7. Recommendations Or for collaborative actions in non-
competitive areas of common interest,
8. Appendix areas such as training, printing,
newsprint purchasing and/or
Newspapers and Advertising Performance investments, product distribution,
common way (backbone)
Effective Practices and Lessons from the
development, etc. Here is one sector
Region -- Kenya, Zambia, Zambia
unaware of commons and of
thoroughfares even though so
many exist, albeit unmarked!
...From Terms of Reference for An
Information & Media Panel of Inquiry IMPI Official Inquiry into the State of the
Information and Media Industry in
Zimbabwe

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 40

1 INTRODUCTION

_____________________

This chapter focuses on the business aspects of the print and electronic media, online
platforms, advertising agencies and outdoor media, performing arts, content producers,
musicians and film operations in Zimbabwe.

1.1 Objectives
The study sought to:
o assess the challenges faced by the information and media sectors in Zimbabwe;
o assess the opportunities for business growth in the sectors of information and
media;
o analyse the viability of the information and media sectors;
o suggest possible solutions for challenges faced by the information and media
sectors;
o establish business models used in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region;
o establish the difference between the information and media sectors;
o analyse the historical developments of the information and media sectors; and
o explore possible investment opportunities in the information and media sectors.

1.2 Methodology
The thematic committee used both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather
information for the study. The main methods used to gather data included public
meetings held throughout the country, interviews with stakeholders, and questionnaires.

A number of meetings and interviews were held with various organisations that included
media houses such as Zimbabwe Newspapers, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe
(ANZ), Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), The Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC), the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA), the Zimbabwe
Magazine Publishers Association (ZIMPA) Trust, Film Producers, Transmedia
Corporation (Pvt) Ltd, the Zimbabwe Association of Accredited Practitioners in
Advertising (ZAAPA), and advertising agencies.

Questionnaires were completed by various stakeholders such as media practitioners,
owners of media organisations or their representatives. Some information was obtained
through desk research, special stakeholder submissions and use of special papers
presented by some experts.

1.3 Limitations to the Study
It is pertinent to point out that the committee faced some challenges in obtaining actual
data pertaining to circulation, viewership, listenership, advertising volumes and revenue,
advertising percentages for various publications, and other critical business information.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 41

This was also the case with other countries in the region visited by the committee. Some
media houses were reluctant to release the information to their competitors, saying that
the release of strategic data could jeopardise their real or perceived competitive
advantages.

Second, since the economy has been in a prolonged recession for the past decade, some
companies and organisations were sceptical of the reasons and purpose of the IMPI
exercise and were unwilling to trust one another or the exercise. However, various other
strategies were used to compile information that was critical to establishing a fair picture
of the media business landscape in the country and showing some general trends in the
industry.

1.4 Organisation of the Chapter
The chapter is organised into eight sections. This first section introduces the chapter.
Section 2 focuses on the literature review and theoretical framework that informed the
research, thereby giving an overall context to the subject under review.
Section 3 highlights the historical development of the media in Zimbabwe, giving a short
overview, as the history is rich and long and could fill a book on its own, starting with the
development of the newspapers, followed by radio stations, television, news agencies and
other forms of communication, and online news media.
Section 4 analyses the media industry, its composition and challenges.
Section 5 looks at business aspects of the media in Zimbabwe and the state of the
industry, with specific parts for print media, electronic media, advertising agencies and
outdoor media, and performing arts, musicians, film producers, content producers,
writers and book publishers.
Section 6 focuses on online media.
Section 7 presents Recommendations.
Section 8 Appendix contains advertising ratios for local newspapers, and reports on
regional experiences, with lessons learned.



2 LITERATURE REVIEW AND THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
________________________

This section outlines the theories that informed the IMPI study of Media as Business, and
reviews some literature written by various scholars in relation to the traditional normative
roles of the media in society and the notion of information and media as a business, as
well as outlining the history of media economics and various concepts of media
economics. While there are many roles that the media is expected to perform in society,
the first part highlights the social responsibility role.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 42

2.1 Social Responsibility Theory
This is one of the four theories of the press propounded by Frederick Siebert. The theory
postulates that the media has clear obligations of public service that transcend money-
making. Christians et al (1993) posit that the social responsibility theory sees the press as
free for social service, stating that the media should encourage debate about pressing
social needs and that moral imperatives arising from the community should matter more
than the economic and bureaucratic impulses of media institutions.

According to Hulteng (1985), the theory contends that channels of communication are
limited to those who own the media. Those who gather and process the information that
flows through them must accept a responsibility to society. He asserts that the
responsibility is to provide a truthful, balanced and comprehensive account of the news.

Journalists who subscribe to the theory must direct their efforts towards identifying and
then serving the interests of society. However, it can be argued that while the media
should perform the social responsibility role, and the theory provides a framework on
how journalists should operate, it should be noted that the media also have an obligation
to be profitable so that the business remains viable and sustainable.

This theory is relevant to the study of the state of the information and media sectors in
Zimbabwe because it provides an understanding of the traditional role of the media. In
many newsrooms, editors were traditionally not concerned about issues of profit-making.
Their main concern was to serve the public interest by informing, entertaining and
educating people. However, the trend seems to be changing. Editors are now publishing
stories that are intended to sell the newspaper and make profits for the organisation.
While the media still continue to perform the social responsibility role, they cannot fully
perform this role because of the desire to make profits.

2.2 Political Economy
The political economy approach is one of the methods used previously to study the
operations of media businesses. The political economy approach asserts that there is a
relationship between ownership and control and the ideological content of the media.
There are different but related approaches to analysing this relationship. Murdock (1980)
cited in Williams (2003: 83) identifies two approaches: the instrumental and the structural
approaches to analysing this relationship.

According to Williams (2003), instrumentalists argue that, there is a direct relationship
between ownership of the mass media and control over what we see, hear and read in the
media (72). The approach asserts that ownership of the media can strongly influence
content and can be used as an instrument to disseminate ideas and values which affirm
existing patterns of power and privilege.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 43

Gurevitch (1982) posits that, Content of the media and meanings carried by their content
are according to this view (political economy) primarily determined by the economic base
of the organisations in which they are produced (18).

Critics of the instrumentalists approach, however, see this as being too simplistic and
describing a causal relationship between control and media content and messages. It
presents the media as servants and cudgels of expression of the ruling class with little or
no autonomy (Williams 2003: 84). This approach ignores the ability of journalists to resist
the intervention of owners. It has also been criticised for ignoring the influence of
consumers. It sees consumers as passive and without the ability to decode different
meanings from media texts.

Structuralists argue that owners do not have direct control over the content of the media.
Rather control is exercised through the structures and pressures within which media
organisations have to operate (Williams 2003). The pressures, however, emanate from the
emphasis on the need to maximise profit and the demands of competition. Garnham
(1990) cited in Williams (2003: 84-85) argues that to understand media content, it is
essential to analyse the context in which it is produced and distributed. The process of
production, the deployment of media workers, the division of labour and the means of
distribution need to be considered in order to make a decision about who can say what to
whom.

Other scholars also acknowledge that there are a number of factors at play during the
construction of news. Franklin (1997) asserts that the political economy approach to
journalism suggests that the production of news and journalistic products is structurally
constrained by economic and political factors. Harcup (2005) contends that the work of
journalists is influenced by a range of structural factors such as legal constraints,
regulatory regimes, the system of media ownership, organisational routines, market
forces, advertising considerations, cultural bias, patriotism, professional ethos and
gender, racial and class imbalance in the workforce (27).

The theory has, however, attracted criticism especially from pluralists, who argue that
political economy confuses the matter of the ownership of media industries with their
control. Proprietors, claim pluralists, own newspapers but do not control them, this is
the prerogative of the editors, senior colleagues and journalists (Franklin 1997: 39).

Pluralists argue that it is no longer wealthy and powerful individual capitalists who own
media enterprises but much greater numbers of smaller investors and shareholders.
Pluralists also argue that while the political economy approach may possess some
explanatory value for the production of news and news content in the privately owned
media sector, it provides an inadequate theoretical framework for broadcast media which
operate on public service principles and is subject to statutory regulation designed to
exclude any editorial influence arising from political and economic interests.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 44

The theory is relevant to this study because it shows that there are a number of factors
that influence the production of the content of the news by the media. These factors
include the ownership and control structures of a media organisation as well as other
factors such as the audiences, advertisers, news sources, among other things. The desire to
sell and please audiences has led to broadloid journalism, whereby the large-format
broadsheet newspapers, that were previously considered reliable sources of news and
information, are now found in the smaller tabloid formats and compete for readers
through sensational stories and headlines previously found mainly in the tabloid press.

2.3 History of Media Economics
Since the beginning of the study of communications, attention has focused primarily on
the roles, functions and effects of communications. When media and other
communications enterprises were studied, they were typically explored as social
institutions, and much of the focus was on the social, political, legal, and technological
influences on the enterprises and their operations (Albarran 2006).

Historically, media scholars ignored, or only lightly attended to, the effects of economic
forces. This was mainly because communications scholars initially came from the
disciplines of sociology, psychology, political science, history, and literary criticism. They
passed on their approaches of studying media to new generations of scholars who
emerged during the mid- and second half of the 20th century (Albarran 2006).

Media entities themselves permitted this lack of scholarly interest in economics and
management because for most of their history, large numbers of media executives had not
considered media to be business enterprises. This is not to say that there were no
commercial aspects. Many owners, however, operated publications and small commercial
radio and television stations as a means of making a modest living, while enjoying a great
deal of reward from playing an influential role in the social, political, and cultural lives of
the communities and nations in which they published. Worldwide, public service and
state-operated radio and television had operated outside the realm of the market
economy, funded by government or legally required licence fees and often protected by
monopoly status (Albarran 2006).

In the second half of the 20th century, media of all kinds began taking on stronger
commercial characteristics as their ability to produce large incomes increased with the
explosion of advertising expenditure. Newspapers and magazines prospered, commercial
radio and television became highly profitable, and even some public service broadcasters
began accepting advertising as a means of increasing their revenue.

These changes and the increased competition with existing media created by additional
competitors and newer media began generating new business and economic issues at the
enterprise, industry, and social levels, but scholars were slow to develop interest in these
areas.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 45


The earliest contributions to literature on media economics were primarily from
economists exploring newspaper competition and characteristics (Ray 1951, 1952;
Reddaway 1963) and broadcasting structures and regulation (Coase 1950, 1954, 1959,
1966; Levin 1958; Steiner 1952). Later communications scholars began exploring media
economics using the political economy approach in the late 1960s and 1970s with a focus
on the power structures affecting media. Notable contributions were made by Dallas
Smythe (1969), Herbert Schiller (1969, 1976), and Armand Mattelart and Seth Seigelaub
(1979).

In the 1970s an increasing number of economists and business scholars began exploring
media, especially as the result of changes leading to the development of cable television
and problematic trends appearing in the newspaper industry. Significant contributions
about the economics and structure of television markets were made by Owen and Beebe
(1974) and Spence and Owen (1977). A few communications scholars with economic and
business backgrounds began contributing their knowledge to understanding of media.

It was not until the 1980s, however, that communications schools began to give economic
and financial forces the significant attention that was due. Since that time, a coherent and
growing body of knowledge about economic issues and problems, and the financial
strategies and behaviour of communications enterprises, has developed. That literature
has begun to explain how economic and financial forces and strategies affect media
developments and operations.

This new avenue of inquiry has begun to significantly alter the imbalance that ignored the
role of communications enterprises as business and financial institutions. In a relatively
short period, a great deal of explanatory material and research has provided the
foundation for description of communications business organisations and operations,
methods of competition between media enterprises, choices of consumers and producers
of communications products, and a broad range of economic and financial problems and
performance issues, especially in the area of concentration and monopoly. Excellent
analyses have considered the political economy of communications enterprises and the
effects on society and vice versa (Dyson and Humphries 1990; Garnham 1990; Mosco and
Wasco 1988).

2.4 Media Economics
Media economics is concerned with the changing economic forces that direct and
constrain the choices of managers, practitioners and other decision-makers across the
media. According to Robert Picard, media economics is concerned with how media
operators meet the informational and entertainment wants and needs of audiences,
advertisers and society with available resources (1996:5). For Alexander et al., media
economics refers to the business operations and financial activities of firms producing
and selling output into the various media industries (1998: 2).

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 46


Media economics then is concerned with a range of issues including international trade,
business strategy, pricing policies, competition and industrial concentration as they affect
media firms and industries. Most of the decisions made by people who run media
organisations are to a greater or lesser extent influenced by resource and financial issues.
Economics as a discipline is, therefore, highly relevant to understanding how media firms
and industries operate.

The overall performance of the economy has important implications for the business
performance and prospects of firms in all sectors, including media. Many media firms rely
on advertising as a primary source of income. An analysis of long-term trends in
advertising shows that there is a strong association between the performance of the
economy as a whole and levels of advertising activity. Revenues for media firms from
direct expenditure by consumers are also clearly dependent on broader economic
aggregates such as levels of disposable income and consumer confidence.

What all media firms have in common is that they are involved somehow in producing,
packaging or distributing media content. However, it should be noted that not all media
firms are commercial organisations. Public service broadcasters do not have a profit
motive but operate to provide a universally available broadcasting service as a social
responsibility.

Criticisms proffered by some scholars suggest that it is too crude and simplistic to assume
that businesses are motivated purely by pursuit of profits, arguing that some owners are
motivated by alternative goals. These range from philanthropy to the desire for specific
benefits associated with owning certain types of businesses. The other motivation might
be the pursuit of public and political influence. Objectives of media organisations and
owners tend to vary widely.

2.5 Media as a Business
Media as a business implies a comprehensive collection of communication channels of
different scales, engaged in varied commercial activities of disseminating news,
entertainment, education, data, or promotional messages, for earning a profit
(Niteshsharma 2010).

Media as a business also involves the marketing principles of creating, delivering and
sustaining value. Advertisers and marketers follow where the people go. Where the mass
media is concerned there is a unique ability to influence society as a whole in different
ways. Many organisations use the media to market their goods and services, and try to
influence issues that impact on them or the views of the target market, hoping to impact
on the purchase decisions. Industries and businesses globally are capitalising on this
opportunity (Niteshsharma 2010).

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 47

Many businesses are exploring marketing opportunities offered by social media. While
businesses were uncertain about social media in the past, they are now rapidly adopting
this avenue for marketing. According to some scholars, content in the form of blog posts,
audio, video, comparison, review sites, tweets and social network messages help to share
information in a less formal way that builds the know, like and trust factors that
influence decision making1. Television commercials, print advertisements in
newspapers/magazines/brochures, jingle ads on radio, pop-ups and flash-ads on the
internet, blogs and feedback reviews are all part of the industry business model2.

2.6 News and Information as Business
Previous research has also shown that newspapers historically have been among the most
successful businesses with profit margins typically exceeding 20 percent per year.
Underwood (1995) argued that, despite their financial success, newspapers have
increasingly emphasised profits. Audience market research has increased in importance
among all media to lure readers, listeners, viewers, and now internet surfers.

2.7 The Music Industry
Music is an integral part of cultures throughout the world but is also a marketable
commodity, and the music industry is a business like any other, subject to economic and
commercial imperatives (Adorno 1941; Connell and Gibson 2003; Starr and Waterman
2003). Globally, music is big business, generating large amounts of money and providing
livelihoods for large numbers of people. In 1998 it was estimated that the South African
music industry was worth approximately 2 billion rand and employed approximately
12,000 people at its core (Cultural Industries Growth Strategy 1998). Statistics on the
global music industry quite often exclude Zimbabwe which has no record company
affiliated to the International Federation of Phonographic Industries (IFPI) and is not a
country member either (Mhiripiri 2012).

2.8 Literature on the Music Industry
A look at the literature on the Zimbabwean music industry reveals a stronger
preoccupation with content analysis and literary criticism of lyrics than with the economic
and commercial aspects of the music industry. Occasionally, there are media articles that
provide important insights into the music industry though they do not tend to give
extensive or in-depth analysis due to the nature of the publications (e.g. Kohola 2011). In
their work, Zindi (1985, 2003, 2010) and Fagerjord (1995) imply a mismatch between the
creative system and the business system, ie the availability of creative talent but not
enough business skills and resources to ensure commercial viability for the majority of
artists (Mhiripiri J and Mhiripiri N 2007).

1 http://www.studymode.com/essays/Media-As-a-Business-Industry-401505.html
2 http://www.studymode.com/essays/Media-As-a-Business-Industry-401505.html


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 48

3 HISTORY OF THE MEDIA INDUSTRY IN ZIMBABWE
________________________

The history of the media in Zimbabwe falls very largely into three distinct eras: the last
decade of the 19th century, the whole of the 20th century, and the first decade-and-a-half of
the 21st century. The 113 years since the first newspaper was published here have seen
huge political, social and economic changes, but these have been dwarfed in the growth of
the media by available technology, entry level costs and the availability of investment.

The history of newspaper publishing in Zimbabwe falls economically into those three
distinct phases. A flurry of very small newspapers were published in the 1890s using
handset type and flatbed presses, with low entry costs into the publishing world. The
second phase was the long dominance throughout most of the 20th century by the Argus
Company of South Africa, its Rhodesian subsidiary and Zimbabwean successor, at a time
when technologies had high entry costs and required skilled technical personnel. The
third phase, at the close of the 20th century, was the advent of digital desktop publishing
and significantly cheaper offset lithographic web presses which slashed entry costs and
numbers of skilled technical staff, encouraging a flurry of new titles and a more
competitive and vibrant market.

In the 1890s a number of newspapers were established in Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare.
Entry costs were very low, even in the limited economy of that time, and the technology
was little different from that of the 15th century, but was better engineered with cheaper
paper being the major technical change over 400 years. Only three of those newspapers
survived, due to a combination of factors.

The 20th century saw major technology advances in newspaper production, with radio
and television arriving towards the middle, although the basic principles were developed
earlier in the century. Generally, there was little change in Zimbabwe until the second half
of the 20th century, with the arrival of television in 1961 being the major technological
innovation, following similar developments in other parts of the world.

The switch to linotype typesetting and rotary presses for printing pushed up entry costs
dramatically, so newspapers needed high investment. This created a near monopoly for
the only investor prepared to put in the capital. Phototypesetting and rotary litho presses
advanced efficiency and quality without making fundamental changes in the economics
of production.

Broadcasting had to be started as a government service, with the high investment needed
for transmitters before people could be persuaded to buy radio receivers, and even then
needed to be backed by government-imposed licence fees. Television was started as a
joint venture between the monopoly broadcaster and the major newspaper company as
no one else had the capital or desire for investment.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 49

The technical and financial challenges of distributing news copy had, by the middle of the
century, created a business model for a news agency that lasted for half a century. In
many ways the 20th century belonged to the big investors who had significant resources.

Technology changes at the end of the 20th century slashed entry costs and requirements
for skilled technical staff. While the worldwide web, fibre-optic links and the mobile
phone are the most obvious changes to the public, the advent of desktop publishing on
cheap personal computers, the fact that the third-generation litho rotary presses could be
bought, in real terms, for around a quarter of the price of equivalent first-generation
models, and cost reductions that were nearly as dramatic for radio and television
transmitters and equipment, coupled with far higher quality and versatility, were just as
important for the existing media houses and critical for new and aspiring entrants.

In many ways, the 21st century looks more like the 1890s than the 20th century, with a
plethora of publications, now on many platforms, and with much lower entry costs, yet
all competing for a far more stable global sum that people are prepared to pay for content,
and a far more stable total advertising budget. The high level of market fragmentation
and the rapid changes are likely to place a premium on innovative management, as seen
in the 1890s, than the slower changes of the 20th century.


4 MEDIA INDUSTRY COMPOSITION AND CHALLENGES
________________________

The analysis of the media industry in this section looks at the composition and challenges,
as well as opportunities, for an industry that comprises newspapers, radio, television,
magazines, advertising agencies, online platforms and social media, and the performing
arts such as theatre, drama, music and film.

According to the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the types of media houses that
were registered and operating in 2014 included newspaper and magazine publishers,
local offices of foreign media services, production houses, and media services for film and
video, in addition to broadcasting. The ZMC data that was available during this inquiry is
shown in the following table.

Type of Media House No. Registered No. Operating
National media services publishing 85 49
newspapers and magazines
Local office of foreign media services 6 6
Advertising agencies 4 2
Production houses and media services 1 1
Media service in film and videos 6 3
Total 102 61

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 50

According to the ZAMPS survey, the country has six national radio stations and two
television stations. Commercial enterprises and artists for the performing arts are
registered with the National Arts Council.

4.1 SWOT Analysis of the Media Industry in Zimbabwe
The tool of SWOT analysis enables a depiction of the Strengths and Weaknesses of the
media industry, as an indicator of the current state of the industry, and can also reveal the
Opportunities available and the Threats confronted by the industry.

4.1.1 Strengths
o A well-educated and literate population, so the market is available.
o An organised industry and commerce that facilitate the need for advertising of
various products and services.
o A culture of advertising that is ingrained in the economy and has been in existence
for decades, supporting a tradition of advertising by industry, commerce,
government and other organisations.

4.1.2 Weaknesses
o Poor performance of the economy to sustain the number of players in the industry.
o Inefficient business models.
o Lack of cooperation in the industry for economies of scale or lobbying purposes.

4.1.3 Opportunities
v The country has a young, literate and growing population which is likely to create a
significant market for the print and online media industry as the economy improves.
v The business models of the media industry, especially the print media, are
inefficient to the extent that they are unsustainable to perpetuate, but there are great
opportunities to revamp them.
v The migration to online platforms is inevitable for all media organisations and
presents new and significant opportunities, especially for diversifying the revenue
streams of media companies. Many young readers seldom or never read hard
copies, but spend their time surfing the internet, chatting and using social media.
v The digitisation of the electronic media will also generate formidable opportunities
for both radio and television stations.

4.1.4 Threats
The declining circulation volumes of newspapers and magazines will increasingly force
advertisers to channel their business to online platforms that are inexpensive and more
focused in terms of reaching their target markets. They also produce better quality
graphics and colours compared to the print media products. However, initially, the
revenue generated from online platforms will not be able to support existing structures in
the media organisations. Retrenchments seem inevitable, especially due to changes in the
skills required.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 51

The benefits offered by the digitisation of the electronic media will require a vast
expansion in the area of content production. The challenge is that the current media
industry has not prepared itself properly for the expansion of content production, and
viewers as well as listeners may be disappointed by the poor quality. They could desert
local stations in preference for imported services such as Digital Satellite Television
(DSTV) MultiChoices digital satellite TV service in Africa, which was launched in 1995.

The downturn in the economic activity has resulted in a drastic reduction in the levels of
advertising by companies in industry and commerce, as well as others including
government and the non-government sector.

4.2 Challenges
Prior to the year 2000, when the economy was in a relatively better condition, the media
industry had fewer print and electronic players than the prevailing situation which has
resulted in decreasing circulation volumes. This is also caused by diminishing disposable
incomes, including poor remuneration for civil servants, who constitute a significant
proportion of readers, with negative impact on purchase power and therefore circulation
of all newspapers.

4.2.1 Newspaper Industry
In the 1980s and early 1990s, the average readership of newspapers relative to the
population as a whole, was as follows:
Mass market dailies 40%
Mass market weeklies -- 30%
Financial market weeklies -- 15%

According to the ZAMPS 2014 First Half Results released on 28 August 2014, the
readership of all the newspapers reflected a general decline in the market from the period
noted above, but comparative figures show a slight increase in readership of the daily and
weekly press in 2014 over 2013 during the same three-month period.

Readership of Daily Press in the previous three months

2013 (%) 2014 (%)

Herald 24 26

Daily News 12 15

H-Metro 13 14

Newsday 11 13

Chronicle 7 9

Southern Eye 1 3

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 52

Readership of Weekly Press in the previous three months

2013 (%) 2014 (%)

Sunday Mail 15 19

B-Metro 3 5

The Standard 3 4

Sunday News 3 4

Kwayedza 3 4

Manica Post 5 4

Financial Gazette 1 3

Zimbabwe 1 2
Independent

Daily News on Sunday - 2

The Zimbabwean 1 2


In the early 1980s, it was possible for print media companies to observe the general rule of
60:40 proportion of advertising to editorial content but in the current economic
environment such a proportion is no longer attained. Media houses have had to be
innovative by changing their business models to enable them to remain viable in a hostile
economic environment where advertising ratios have decreased to below 50 percent.

Given the high polarisation in society, the media has reflected the same impact along
political lines, and this polarisation has contributed to the decline in circulation as readers
have become disenchanted by the biased editorial content.

While the issue of donor funding has not been openly admitted by any media player, it
would be amiss if its ramifications are not interrogated. Donor funding can take various
forms, but the main form of donor funding is direct to a particular media house as a
recipient of assistance from an external donor for special projects or a prolonged period,
thus advertising rates can be set at levels that are uneconomic and highly negotiable.

Another form of funding is particular advertising that is channelled to a specific media
house to the exclusion of all other media players. If government departments and
parastatals are persuaded to channel their advertising to a specific media house to the
exclusion of all other media houses then that can be viewed as unfair competition,
although this mechanism is not technically unethical and is used by governments all over
the world.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 53


4.2.2 Broadcasting
The licensing of new radio stations by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)
has been perceived as unfair as the shareholders of organisations that were awarded
licences were viewed as sympathetic to the ruling party. Other interested players felt that
the awarding process was biased and was not fair to all candidates.

Whether the above views are correct or not, the position is that in such a scenario,
perception becomes reality. The same applies to the delay in licensing of community radio
stations, and also to the licensing of television stations by BAZ. The widely held belief is
that no independent television station will be granted a license.

Apart from the political issues highlighted above that are viewed as impediments to the
licensing of radio stations, there is no doubt that the current liquidity crunch in the
economy has been a major hindrance to the ability of most aspiring candidates to secure
funding for capitalisation in addition to working capital for operations of the electronic
media. The same economic challenges that are hampering the existing radio stations and
other players in the industry are likely to render the projects of prospective candidates
unviable and unprofitable.

The same challenge that has affected the print media in terms of an influx of new players
that cannot be sustained by the market in the current economic conditions, also applies to
radio stations. According to the ZAMPS 2014 First Half Result released on 28 August
2014, the radio stations listened to in the past four weeks were as follows:

Radio Stations listened to in the past four weeks

2013 2014

Total (%) Urban (%) Total (%) Urban (%)

Radio Zimbabwe 41 28 40 30

Power FM 28 32 24 31

Star FM 14 23 18 26

National FM 13 9 15 11

ZiFM 8 14 8 14

SFM 5 8 4 7

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 54

4.2.3 Double Taxation
All organisations in the media industry are levied a fee of 0.5 percent on gross annual
turnover by the ZMC. Apart from the above levy, the electronic media are also charged
transmission fees on a monthly basis by the Transmedia Corporation of Zimbabwe.

Given that the media industry, like all companies, is subjected to other statutory
payments such as Value Added Tax (VAT), corporate tax, and Pay As You Earn (PAYE)
income tax, the media levy and the other levies could be seen as double taxation.

In view of the fact that the media levy is charged on gross turnover and not net profit, it
pushes up the overall cost of producing newspapers and operating the electronic media,
and exerts an unbearable burden on cash flows at a time when VAT and PAYE payments
to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) are supposed to be made by the 25th of
every month. Yet there may be timing differences so the amounts owed are due before the
advertisers have paid.

The multiple levies are a challenge to the media industry and, given the double taxation
effect, they are suffocating the viability of the industry. The media levies are considered
by some proprietors as unwarranted costs that should be abolished to protect the media
industry from ruin.

Just as other businesses have been paralysed by lack of affordable finance from banks for
recapitalisation and working capital, the same factors have had a devastating impact on
the media industry. The industry is operating with antiquated machinery and equipment,
thus adding to the cost of producing newspapers and affecting negatively the operations
of the electronic media by making them unviable.

4.2.4 Inefficient Business Models
Partly due to polarisation, media organisations have adopted inefficient business models
in which they have seen the need to procure and install printing machines and operate
distribution systems whose capacity utilisation levels are well below 50 percent. This has
led to high cost structures because of the inefficient models adopted. An example of better
models are those employed by newspapers in South Africa where independent operators
print all newspapers and independent distributors transport and distribute newspapers
for all media organisations throughout the country.

Through such economies of scale and sourcing of spares of printing machines from the
same supplier, the operators in South Africa benefit from group discounts and they have
a federation of master printers who use the same models of printing machines, for
example, the Goss Metro Users Association. Newsprint, that constitutes the biggest
expenditure item in the cost structure of newspapers, is not available locally since the
closure of the Mutare Board and Paper Mills, but is imported from South Africa and
overseas.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 55


The effect of the above operational environment is that given the long lead times that
invariably apply to importation of newsprint, print media companies tie up too much
money in stocks at a time when cash flow is very tight and this contributes to the
expensive cost structure in terms of newspaper production. Ideally, newsprint and other
critical inputs and consumables should be sourced on a procurement policy of just in
time basis of to minimise finance costs in terms of unnecessarily holding high stocks,
especially given the bulkiness of newsprint which requires storage facilities. The resultant
poor storage of such a fragile input also leads to costly wastage.

4.2.5 Online Platforms
While the emergence of online platforms can be viewed as an opportunity for the media
industry in Zimbabwe, the revenues generated have not been sufficient to offset the high
costs that are required to fund the platforms, especially the cost of skills required and the
necessary equipment to make the online platforms effective. While online platforms are
the future of the media industry, the initial costs including the gestation period that can
conceivably stretch to over two years or more, are proving expensive given the current
downturn in the economy. The faster the monetisation of the various online applications
is achieved and accepted by users, the more viable the online platforms will become.

4.2.6 Skills and Specialisation
The unavailability of specialist skills in both the print and electronic media is a major
challenge, especially given the poor performance of local training institutions. Most
journalists now required by the media industry need to have tertiary education in finance,
economics and political science, among others, to enable them to understand and
articulate issues. It is difficult to identify candidates with the right educational
background who have the nose for news.

Not every graduate can be trained to be a good journalist. Journalism is an art and it
requires candidates with the correct orientation, dedication and passion for writing. A
combination of all these factors is not easy for proprietors to identify and, if identified,
such people are difficult to retain given the relatively poor remuneration in the media
industry in relation to other professions.

4.3 Opportunities
The IMPI survey results drawn from primary data gathered across the 10 provinces
covering journalists, reporters, and editors through Focus Groups. When the Outreach
survey covered the aspect of what needs to be done to improve media information sector
viability, 36 percent of the respondents noted the need for media law and policy reforms,
with 18 percent advocating improved working conditions for journalists. There is also a
greater realisation on the part of media practitioners that there is need to respond to
customer needs and expectations, and better serve them for survival and viability.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 56

Figure 1 What Should Be Done to Improve
Media and Information Sector Viability?

36%

17% 18% 18%


11%

IMPROVE LAW AND RESPOND TO BETTER OTHER


ECONOMY POLICY AUDIENCE WORKING
REFORM NEEDS CONDITIONS


On risks associated with investing in the sector depicted under Figure 2, concern is on the
perceived unstable political environment which scores 30 percent, followed by poor
economic conditions at 23 percent, whilst restrictive policies and laws account for 22
percent. These three parameters account for 75 percent of the risk weights affecting media
sector investment decisions, implying that any attempt to lure both domestic and foreign
investment into this sector should initially address these factors.

Zimbabwe does not have a unified management and administration of ICTs and the
media sectors. As stated earlier on, in actual practice, it is difficult to distinguish ICTs
from information and the media. The two sectors play a complimentary role but the
approach that government has adopted especially to the development of the important
sector of ICTs is detrimental to the unified growth of these two sectors. The impact of the
ICT development is not recognisable throughout the whole country and yet all countries
that are developing rapidly have their ICTs sector growing at breathtaking speeds. There
exist great opportunities to attract huge investment in the ICT sector but because of the
current approach as well as other factors militating against general investment in the
country, Zimbabwe has not fully benefitted yet.

Figure 2 Risks Associated with Investing in


35%
Information and Media Sector
30%
30%
25% 23% 22%
20%
20%
15%
10%
5%
5%
0%
Poor Economic RestricGve Unstable Advent of Other
CondiGons Policy PoliGcal Social Media
Environment Environment

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 57

5 MEDIA AS BUSINESS AND STATE OF THE INDUSTRY
__________________________

The issue to be explored in this section is viability and relates to whether these sectors of
the media industry are set up, operated and managed as a business. The points to be
considered are the following, as to whether:
o all mainstream media organisations are registered and comply with provisions of
the Companies Act;
o they have made all statutory payments such as VAT, PAYE, Corporation Tax and
other levies charged by government;
o they employ professional people to manage the business; and
o they have sound business systems and sustainability through profitability.

The inquiry found that media organisations fall into three different categories of viability:

} The first category consists of organisations that are in severe financial positions
and are failing to meet statutory obligations, medical aid and pension
payments, and are struggling to effect payment of salaries on due dates. While
cost reduction measures have been proposed, these do not go deep enough to
ensure a turnaround situation. The report foresees further drastic measures
being implemented whether voluntary or not, for survival proposes.

} The second group consists of media organisations that are experiencing financial
stress but are able to pay most of their statutory obligations including salaries,
although they are behind with certain payments.

} The third category includes those who are up to date with their working capital
requirements. Our investigations revealed that there is not a single company in
this category in the media industry.

While the situation is desperate, therefore, it has to be analysed and considered in view of
similar situations for the rest of the economy. While this inquiry found the media
industry in a situation of intensive care, there is no doubt that it will recover and take
its rightful place in the economy, although there is no guarantee that there will not be
casualties in the process.

We conducted research on most media organisations to establish if there are reasons other
than those of a commercial nature as to why they are in existence. While ownership of
media organisations provides influence and prestige in society, we found no evidence to
show that any organisation had been set up solely for such reasons. Most of the
mainstream media organisations are set up on business lines and managed professionally.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 58

In Zimbabwe, most shareholders cannot afford to prop up loss-making media
organisations. They do not have the capacity to be so generous for extended periods. The
profit motive is, therefore, the overriding factor, although the prestige and influence that
accompanies such ownership is welcome to some shareholders.

The reason why the above question was asked is because it would appear that certain
media houses are not generating sufficient revenue to sustain themselves as going
concerns. The economic environment has affected all companies but we have witnessed
some media organisations adopting drastic measures to ensure that they remain afloat.

There is no doubt that external funding in the form of grants, loans or investment has
acted as a bridging measure, but in the long term, the organisations have to prove their
viability or close down. Even government has not been able to assist the public media
when in difficulties, including the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).

Like most sectors of the economy, the media industry is in a survival mode because of
depressed circulation volumes and unsustainably low advertising volumes. The same
applies to the electronic media, especially the public broadcaster. The extent and
seriousness of the problems vary depending on the different business models that
respective media organisations are using.

As indicated earlier, the committee had challenges to obtain certain information on


circulation, viewership, listenership, advertising volumes and revenue, as some media
houses were not willing to provide the information. As a result, the committee had to
adopt the following methods:

Use information that is already in the public domain such as the results recently
released by the Zimbabwe All Media and Products Surveys (ZAMPS). Although
some media houses are not in agreement with the methodology used by ZAMPS,
the committee believes that the overall picture presented by ZAMPS is the best
way to depict the state of the industry, in the absence of the actual information
from media players.

An informal way of computing advertising percentages was employed and it is
important to note that while this method has potential for inaccuracy, the overall
result is not too different from the reality being experienced in the industry. In the
absence of the actual data from the media houses, the information computed by
this method gives an approximate position of the industry. (See end of this chapter)

5.1 Print Media


This section focuses on the print media, consisting of newspapers, both mainstream and
community, and also the magazine publishing sector. The media landscape is explored
and brief profiles of some of the major players in the industry are presented.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 59

5.1.1 Profiles of Key Media Players

ZIMBABWE N EWSPAPERS (1980) L TD
The Zimbabwe Newspapers group (Zimpapers) is largely owned by government through
a trust, the Zimbabwe Media Trust. It publishes four daily newspapers: The Herald in
Harare, The Chronicle in the second largest city of Bulawayo, and two social-scandal-
chasing tabloids, H-Metro in Harare and B-Metro in Bulawayo. Zimpapers also publishes
five weeklies: The Sunday Mail in Harare, The Sunday News in Bulawayo and The Manica
Post in the eastern border city of Mutare. Two of the weekly newspapers, Kwayedza and
Umthunywa, are published in vernacular Shona and Ndebele, respectively.

In addition, Zimpapers recently launched an online publication BH24, which focuses
more on business. All its publications with the exception of H-Metro are available online.
Zimpapers prints its own newspapers using its two printing companies in Harare and
Bulawayo. Zimpapers also runs a commercial radio station, Star FM, which started
broadcasting on June 25, 2012. Zimpapers is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange. The
shareholding structure is as follows.

Zimpapers Shareholding Structure
Holder name Total issued shares %
Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust 51.09
Old Mutual Life Assurance Company Zim 10.24
Zimcor Limited 5.41
Hotair Investments (Pvt) Limited 4.72
Zimpapers Managers Shares Trust 4.59
Zimpapers Employees Share Trust 3.41
Zimpapers Newspapers Pension Fund 3.39
Messina Investments Limited 1.75
National Social Security Authority 1.45
The Bexley Trust 0.96
Total holding of top10 shareholders 87.01
Remaining holding 12.99
Total issued shares 100


ASSOCIATED N EWSPAPERS O F Z IMBABWE
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) publishes Daily News, Daily News On Sunday
and Weekend Post. It first published its flagship Newspaper, The Daily News, on March 31,
1999. The government used new media laws to shut down the company in 2003. After
intense lobbying and a protracted legal battle, ANZ was re-registered and granted an
operating licence as a newspaper publisher in July 2010 after seven years of closure. Daily
News was re-launched on March18, 2011 and the publication has taken up a significant
market share in the daily newspaper market, due to its editorial policies.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 60

The major shareholders for ANZ are:
Meditation Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Africa Media Investments, and Diamond
Insurance Company of Zimbabwe.
The rest of the shareholding is spread among Southern Life Association,
Intermarket Life Assurance, NDM Investments (Pvt) Ltd, Batanai Capital Finance
(Pvt) Ltd, Dr. Ali Mohamed and Judith Todd.

ALPHA M EDIA H OLDINGS
Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) is a privately owned company that publishes two daily
newspapers, NewsDay in Harare, Southern Eye (in Bulawayo) and two weekly newspapers,
Zimbabwe Independent and The Standard. All the newspapers have online editions. It is also
the parent company for Strand Multiprint, a commercial printing company and Munn
Marketing, a distribution and marketing company. Alpha Media Holdings started
publishing in the mid-1990s, and its mission statement is to provide effective leadership in
the provision of world class multimedia products and services.

AMH is owned by Trevor Ncube through Vusumuzi Investments with 61 percent of the
shareholding, and 39 percent is held by the Media Development Investment Fund.

THE F INANCIAL G AZETTE
The Financial Gazette (Private) Limited, publishers of The Financial Gazette newspaper,
was registered as a separate company from its parent company on December 5, 1983. The
Financial Gazette newspaper was first published in April 1969 and is the oldest business
and financial newspaper in the country.

The Financial Gazette is a Harare-based weekly newspaper and is a market leader in
economic, business and political reportage with a weekly circulation of around 14,000
copies. The goal of The Financial Gazette is to provide accurate reporting and alternative
views and news about key socio-economic and political developments in Zimbabwe, and
is read by business executives and policymakers in the public and private sector.

Services offered by the newspaper are advertising, copy sales and subscriptions, and the
newspaper is available online. The companys major suppliers are Mondi, which provides
newsprint, and Printco, which provides printing services. The company is wholly owned
by Octadew Investments a Zimbabwean company owned by Gideon Gono, the former
central bank governor, and the shareholding structure is as follows.

Octadew Investments

Modus Publications P/L 100%


Financial Gazette P/L 100%

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 61

5.1.2 Emerging Issues
Below are some of the issues that emerged from stakeholder engagements and from
outreach meetings pertaining to the print media.

a. Content
Most people complained that newspapers are out of touch with what people want to read.
For example, most newspapers publish stories about politics yet the majority of people
say they are now tired of political stories. They say they want to listen to or read about
other issues that concern them and issues about people in the communities. They want to
read investigative pieces and not only what the ministers say. There were numerous
complaints that newspapers publish falsehoods and so people no longer trust the media.
This notion is affecting media businesses as people now feel that there is no need to buy
newspapers that publish falsehoods.

b. Language
Most newspapers in Zimbabwe publish in English except for Kwayedza and Umthunywa,
published in Shona and Ndebele respectively. Zimbabweans say they want newspapers
that are published in local languages because those are the languages that can be easily
understood by the majority of people.

c. Newspaper sales
Most people complained that the cost of newspapers is beyond the reach of many people
at one US dollar per copy, as this is the same price paid for a loaf of bread so people have
to choose whether to use one dollar to buy a newspaper or a loaf of bread.

d. Advertising
Due to the depressed economic environment, most media organisations have been
affected by the low rate of advertising. Under normal circumstances, the
advertising/editorial ratio should be in proportion of 60/40. But due to the depressed
economic environment which has resulted in companies failing to advertise, very few
media organisations are managing to meet this ratio of advertising to content.
Newspapers such as H-Metro sometimes publish editions consisting of six percent
advertising; Daily News, 14 percent; while The Zimbabwe Mail may contain 17 percent
advertising. Low advertising ratio has affected the viability of most media organisations.
(See comparative advertising rates and performance figures in Appendix 8.1 at end of chapter)

e. Circulation
Newspaper circulation figures currently published by the Zimbabwe All Media and
Products Survey (ZAMPS) are disputed by some publishers, resulting in a situation where
every major newspaper publishing company claims that their own daily newspaper is the
largest selling in Zimbabwe.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 62

Zimbabwes established media houses should register their newspapers and magazines
with the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC), an international voluntary organisation
consisting of publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies. The main function of ABC
is to evolve and lay down a standard and uniform procedure by which member
publishers shall compute their net paid sales. The circulation figures so arrived at are
checked and certified by a firm of chartered accountants approved by the bureau.

Such bureau issues ABC certificates every six months to those publishers whose
circulation figures conform to the rules and regulations as set out by the bureau.
Zimbabwe Newspapers was a member of ABC up to the early 1990s. A reintroduction of
ABC audits would benefit all newspaper organisations, the advertising industry and the
public at large in Zimbabwe.

f. Distribution
Most newspapers handle their own distribution using their vehicles or public transport to
ferry newspapers to the rural areas. Distribution of newspapers through the public
transport system is not reliable. Newspapers are sold on the streets using street vendors,
or in shops, and in some cases agents sell newspapers in return for a commission.

g. Printing
Big media organisations such as Zimpapers, AMH, and ANZ own printing presses and
print their own newspapers. However, smaller organisations, particularly community
newspapers, do not have printing presses of their own. They sub-contract others to print
for them. The cost of printing newspapers is then a major challenge because the printing
costs are high, as is the cost of newsprint.

h. Taxes
The media industry is heavily taxed. The taxes include those paid to the ZMC, ZIMRA
and Zimdef, among others. Most organisations recommended to IMPI that the taxes
should be reduced as the various stakeholders feel that they are heavily taxed.

i. Registration of media organisations
The requirements for registering a media organisation are restrictive. Most respondents
feel that the clause on foreign ownership is prohibitive and discourages foreign investors
from investing in the media sector. Various stakeholders also feel that the registration fees
are high and should be reduced. Fees should not be the same across the board. For
example, registration fees for a community newspaper should not be the same as for a
mainstream newspaper.

j. Community newspapers
There are community newspapers in almost all provinces of Zimbabwe. The challenges
that are faced by community newspapers are almost of a similar nature. Due to economic
hardships, the main challenge is that of resources.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 63

Most community newspapers cannot afford to employ more than two full time reporters.
These organisations consist mainly of an editor and a reporter. They rely on students on
attachment for human resources. This scenario has been identified as one of the main
causes of poor quality content in the newspapers. Due to the shortage of human
resources, in some instances the editor doubles as the reporter. In some instances, the
sales representatives will also double as reporters.

k. Transport
For most community newspapers, transport is also a challenge, making it difficult for
reporters to source for news. Transport is also needed to distribute the newspaper. Where
it is not available, newspaper organisations rely on public transport to distribute their
newspapers. This mode of transport is not always reliable, as indicated earlier.

l. Consistency in publishing
Due to high costs of production and low rates of advertising, some community
newspapers struggle to meet their obligation of publishing their newspapers every week.
Some newspapers that are supposed to publish weekly are now publishing bi-weekly,
and other are publishing only when they get sufficient advertising revenue.

5.1.3 Recommendations Newspapers
Taxes should be reduced for the media industry, and media industry should
reduce the price of newspapers. Imported newsprint should be tax exempt.
Government should make it mandatory for local authorities to advertise so
members of the public are updated on various issues happening in different
towns and cities.
Only serious newspapers should be licensed to publish, as some newspapers
do not publish on a regular basis.
Government or the banking sector should establish a media basket fund so
that media houses can borrow funds.
Grants of about $20,000 should be given by government to communities to
start newspapers, and there should be a centralised printing arrangement to
enable everyone to reach the market in time. Registration fees should be
reduced for community newspapers.
ZMC levies should be removed because companies are struggling and this is
seen as double taxation.
A voluntary council for appeals should be established to represent
organisations facing lawsuits.

5.1.4 Magazine Publishing
Magazine publishing in Zimbabwe faces major challenges. While there is a dearth of
publications that could address critical political and socio-economic issues affecting the
development of the country, the national environment makes it difficult for those that
exist to operate satisfactorily to meet the demand.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 64

Sound projects have been proposed but these disappear after a short period or do not get
started, resulting in supermarket and bookshop shelves being filled with foreign
publications. Local readers are thus compelled to consume foreign literature.

5.1.5 State of the Magazine Industry


A combination of high printing costs, low advertising support, uncompetitive pricing
models and conditions, poor turnaround and sometimes unsatisfactory quality, has
resulted in magazine publishers finding themselves with no choice but to venture
offshore to get publications printed. This has resulted in capital outflows.

From a human capital perspective, magazines are unable to employ appropriate staff for
the economic reasons mentioned above, and it is not easy to find personnel with the
requisite skills to create content of a competitive quality due to the specialty nature of
most publications.

Government regulations do not adequately cater for this sector, so that labour matters are
lumped together with other sectors or vaguely referred to, making it difficult to set
parameters and benchmarks for operations. Local magazines are registered by ZMC and
subject to the high annual levies charged.

The magazine publishing sector in Zimbabwe is in dire straits, although there is huge
scope and many opportunities for growth. Proliferation of online magazines that can be
accessed by mobile phone is damaging the magazine industry, and it will die if it does not
adapt. Print will continue for some few years to come, largely because of slow
technological pickup and bandwidth challenges.

5.1.6 Opportunities for Growth in the Sector
Magazines give specialist focus on critical economic sectors that are not adequately
covered in mainstream media, and have more space for in-depth reporting and analysis.
The slow pace of technological advancement ensures that readers still rely on print media,
and many readers traditionally still want personal copies that they can return to later, to
read at their own pace. However, the industry has the opportunity to use new entry
points and methods when starting up to ensure access or conversion to new media
platforms.

Zimbabwes new economic blueprint, ZimAsset, envisages a vibrant economy and calls
for a more responsive media environment to complement the attendant content that the
various objectives of ZimAsset will generate. This will require articulation on a
sustainable basis, in print and new media platforms.

Due to the nature and state of the magazine industry, it is well-placed to develop using
new media platforms, but this will require study of the needs of the target audience, as
well as production and distribution; and a change of mindset about what is a magazine.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 65


Organisations Affiliated to Zimbabwe Magazine Publishers Association (ZIMPA)

Organisation/ Publication Title Editor Price/ Focus


Representative Frequency
SOFTRITE/ Ndeipi Jaimee $2 Whats
Mike Garden Johnstone Monthly happening in
Harare
PADARE reNHAU (Pvt) Ltd Parade Ray $2 General news
Rejoice Nharaunda (since 1953) Mawerera Monthly and lifestyle
Teacher in $1 Education sector
Zimbabwe Monthly
WoW Zimbabwe $2 Hospitality and
Quarterly tourism
The Zimbabwe $2 Farming and
Farmer Quarterly agriculture
Padare Free News in braille
Magazine Bi-monthly and large print for
blind or visually
impaired
DANTS MEDIA/ Jewel Tsitsi Mutendi $2 Lifestyle and
Tsitsi Mutendi entertainment
The Club Free Fashion
Dopota Star Free Religious ZCC
Precious Chitapi Woman Precious $4 Lifestyle
Gentleman Chitapi
Shaanandumi Puwai Homes & Styles Shaanandumi $3 Home and
Puwai lifestyle
Exclusive Weddings, brides
Weddings and grooms
OUT OF AFRICA (Pvt) Ltd/ Out of Africa Sarah Cullen $3 Lifestyle and
Jeff Cullen Monthly entertainment
Destination Free Msasa businesses
Msasa Quarterly
Zimbabwe Clothing Stitch Jill Day $2 Clothing
Manufacturers Quarterly
Association

Zimbabwe Tobacco Tobacco Today $2 Agriculture


Association Quarterly Tobacco
Associations: Zimbabwe Livestock Matters Penny Lumley Free to Agriculture
Poultry, Pig Producers, associations Livestock
Dairy, Cattle, Herd Book, and other
Livestock Identification stakeholders
Trust / Penny Lumley
FROG ART (Pvt) Ltd/ Zim Artist Rich Conlon $5 All types of art
Rich Conlon Quarterly
Kari Olivey The Kari Olivey $4 Gardening and
Zimbabwean outdoors
Gardener

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 66

A new player in the magazine market is Buffalo Media (Pvt) Ltd. The company has
registered and is preparing to launch Vision Magazine, a news and lifestyle monthly
publication. A motoring magazine, On The Road, is awaiting an improvement in the
current state of the economy.

5.1.7 Recommendations Magazines
o Recognition and promotion of magazines as mainstream media.
o Statutory instruments that position the magazine sector as an important media
force, including pertinent protection from foreign publications, such as:
Local magazine stands in retail outlets;
Introduction of duty tariffs for foreign registered publications; and
Elimination of tariffs for local publications printed offshore.
o Capacitation of local printing industry to improve efficiencies and eliminate
the need for exporting printing contracts, including elimination of duty on
inputs and resuscitation of the paper manufacturing industry in the country.
o Re-examination of existing labour laws to accommodate the sector more
realistically.
o Introduction of magazine publishing modules in journalism training courses,
including new media platforms.
o Industry-wide consideration through ZIMPA of the opportunities and
challenges, needs and requirements of conversions and start-ups using new
media platforms.

5.2 Broadcasting
5.2.1 Television
There is only one player in the television sector at present, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC). ZBC has two television stations, TV1 and TV2, and is 100 percent
government-owned. The board of directors is appointed according to the Companies Act.
The criteria for appointment to the board is expertise in technical, legal, media and
accounting fields. There is also representation for special interest groups. The main
sources of revenue for ZBC are advertising, licence fees, sponsorship, and government
subventions.

ZBC has a number of challenges that have affected viability. These include:
o The corporation is overstaffed and requires to reduce staffing levels by half.
o Advertising revenue has been severely depressed due to contraction of the
economy which has resulted in slashing of advertising budgets.
o Failure to produce attractive content for programmes has adversely impacted on
advertising with viewers opting for satellite programmes.
o Government has not been paying for advertising placed by various ministries.
o Failure to collect licence fees from television viewers as a result of an ineffective
collection systems used.
o ZBC has a public service mandate as well as a commercial service mandate.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 67

o The commercial service mandate should be self-financing but because of the poor
advertising generated, the revenue from this source is inadequate to cover
expenditure.
o The public service mandate should be supported and financed through
government but this has not been forthcoming, thus compounding the poor
financial position of ZBC.

Management advised that ZBC needs recapitalisation, and made proposals for
restructuring, including staggering of the payment of licence fees to improve compliance.
Management failed to proffer a plausible solution to the challenges of improving content
production, which was identified as one of the biggest challenges. However, on being
asked to provide a detailed plan on how they intend to turn around the business of ZBC,
management failed to give a plausible and convincing plan to the Committee. The
Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services may have to rely on the report
to be produced by a forensic audit currently being conducted.

5.2.2 Radio
There are currently six radio stations on air in the country.
ZBC, the national broadcaster, runs five radio stations -- Radio Zimbabwe, National FM,
Spot FM and Power FM.

Star FM is owned by the Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (Zimpapers) and started
operating on June25, 2012.

ZiFM Stereo is a private radio station owned by AB Communications, which controls 70
percent shareholding, while 30 percent is owned by other shareholders. ZiFM, which is
the first privately owned radio station broadcasting in Zimbabwe, went on air on August
15, 2012 and has a current coverage of 70 percent of the country.

The main challenges affecting radio stations in Zimbabwe are:
o Inadequate advertising support from clients due to the harsh economic
environment. Some advertising clients were cancelling their advertising budgets
that they had undertaken for 2014. Other clients were reducing their advertising
budgets because of the liquidity challenges. Most clients were stretching the
existing advertising budgets by requesting the reduction of rates, thereby
obtaining more volumes from the same dollar value.
o Like most companies, radio stations have a major problem of debtors not paying
on time. Radio stations were concerned that advertising agencies are receiving
payments from clients but are not remitting to the service providers timeously.
This creates an untenable situation from a cash-flow position.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 68

o Radio stations also felt that the current commission of 16.5 percent paid to
advertising agencies was too high and unjustified as most bookings have minimal
production work that was performed by the same organisations.
o Competition from unlicensed radio stations broadcasting in the country.
o High fees charged by statutory bodies. Some radio stations are paying as follows:-
0.5 percent of gross audited turnover to the Zimbabwe Media Commission
1.5 percent of gross turnover to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
$2,500 per month to Transmedia Corporation for renting their sites
Royalties paid to the Zimbabwe Music Association, which they said are
too high.
The fees are seen as excessive.

5.2.3 Broadcasting Licences and Lost Revenue
From the outreach meetings, it emerged that most people are not happy to pay for radio
and television licences because they are failing to access the broadcasts due to
transmission problems. Some people said they do not even watch ZBC because of the
poor quality of programming yet they are expected to pay for the licences. Some
respondents recommended that ZBC should introduce a system whereby the organisation
sells access cards to people who want to watch the television station rather than making
everyone pay for licences.

ZBC loses a lot of revenue because many people opt to buy decoders so that they access
satellite television. If ZBCs programming quality was good, according to expected
standards, people said they would gladly watch ZBC and not spend a lot of money to
subscribe to other television channels. Zimbabwe National Roads Administration
(ZINARA) is to collect licence fees from motorists and retain 10 percent of revenue. This
can allow the national broadcaster to focus on content production and other duties.

5.2.4 Digitisation
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has set June 17, 2015 as the date to
migrate from the current analogue television transmissions to digital platforms.
According to Transmedia Corporation, Zimbabwe will meet the 2015 deadline, although
about US$30 million is required to fund the changeover. Ten out of 24 sites already have
transmitters for digitisation. Viewers will need to buy set-top boxes using digital signals,
although these could be subsidised as in some neighbouring countries.

Benefits
o Opening up of the airwaves with many more channels easily accessible locally.
o Demand for content will increase significantly to fill some of these channels.
o New access and content can support revenue generation.
o Vast potential for revenue through production and export of quality content .
o Deployment of Single Frequency Network (SFN) platforms are more efficient.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 69

Challenges
o Zimbabwe could become a perpetual consumer of foreign products unless
local productions are ready in time and are of appropriate quality.
o Resources for the changeover and content production.
o Preparations are behind schedule and time is short with a few months to go.

5.2.5 Recommendations Broadcasting
Recapitalisation of the national broadcaster, ZBC, with clear objective to
facilitate better quality programming and sustainable business model, as well
as national coverage.
Preparations for digitisation to be fast-tracked with more explanation of
implications.
Coordinated plans for content production for local consumption and export.
Fees of 16.5 percent paid to advertising agencies should be reduced.
Fees paid to statutory bodies should be reduced after a joint investigation of
the viability of a new fees structure by Ministry of Information, Media and
Broadcasting Services and relevant statutory bodies, and the radio stations.
Some radio stations say it is unfair that ZBC has two major sources of revenue
including collections from radio listeners licences and advertising revenue,
while other stations were not benefiting from radio listeners licences but relied
only on advertising revenue. The respondents recommended that radio
listeners licence fees must be collected by all radio stations and deposited into
a common pool where distribution would be effected to all radio stations.

5.3 Advertising
Looking at the Zimbabwean media landscape as an ecosystem, among the key
protagonists in this ecosystem are the advertising agencies. They are inextricably linked to
the mainstream media businesses including print, broadcasting, and outdoor media, as
well as new media. In order to understand the advertising business in Zimbabwe, it helps
to look at the evolutionary path since the advent of print media.

As with the advertising agencies in other parts of the world, the advertising function
within the print media was done internally by the commercial art department. As
industry dynamics shifted and the business landscape became more competitive,
opportunities were created for specialisation. Eventually, the graphic designers,
typesetters and copywriters who formed the commercial arts departments began to break
away from the mainstream media houses. They formed independent agencies that were
more responsive to client needs and able to offer a uniform communications campaign
across many titles.

Today, advertising agencies are well established and recognised as vital conduits within
the media value chain. The general business model for all commercial media houses is
one that relies on advertising for revenue.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 70

Advertising agencies are also opinion leaders who can sway advertising spending as they
operate as an appendage to the clients marketing arm.

5.3.1 Analysis of Advertising Industry
A notable strength in Zimbabwe is that advertising agencies have become a vibrant
industry which has managed to stand the test of time since pre-independence times.
Compared to other markets such as Zambia, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania and
Kenya, the Zimbabwean advertising industry is a force to reckon with in terms of the
quality of work that is produced as it is supported by a high national literacy rate.

Advertising agencies are also key players within the media ecosystem due to their close
relationship with clients who are the actual advertisers. This strength allows agencies to
participate more meaningfully alongside often much larger suppliers such as the media
houses who rely on agency support in producing much-needed advertising revenue.

Notable weaknesses are that the advertising agency business in Zimbabwe has very low
barriers to entry, which has resulted in overcrowding in the market, against a background
of a shrinking economy. As at end of 2013, there were 30 accredited advertising agencies
on the books of the Zimbabwe Advertising Media Association (ADMA), and between 60
and 120 non-accredited firms that are participating in the industry.

The fierce jockeying for position of industry incumbents is devaluing the offerings of the
players, and this threatens the sustainability of the industry as a whole. The advertising
agencies are in a precarious position of being wedged between powerful suppliers who
demand early payment dates on one hand and powerful clients who stretch payment
dates on the other.

Although advertising agencies have their own association the Zimbabwe Association of
Accredited Practitioners in Advertising ( ZAAPA), they are largely regulated by ADMA,
which is a body made up of all media houses. ADMA in itself is very weak as it does not
have a full-time secretariat and the members who sit in its various committees hold junior
positions in their respective organisations.

ADMA member companies are also unclear on what the ADMA mandate is and who is
responsible for smooth running. There is lack of authority on the part of ADMA to
regulate agencies, clients and media owners who do not play by agreed rules. Incidences
of errant behaviour increased during the hyperinflationary period and ADMA has not
managed to arrest the decay.

Negative perceptions by media owners on how advertising agencies run their businesses
is also a significant weakness that is affecting the agencies. There is a general perception
that agencies are paid well and on time by their clients and yet they choose to hold on to
the funds and not remit payments to media owners.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 71

There is also isolation and lack of exposure to emerging global advertising trends and best
practices, and this lack of exposure is hampering the growth of the advertising industry.
Zimbabwean agencies generally do not participate in major advertising festivals due to
prohibitive costs relative to income yields.

There are no training institutions for the advertising business. There are only three
universities that offer courses useful to the industry. Further, there is no
parliamentary/political representative for the industry.

Continued shrinking of the economy is a major threat to the advertising industry in the
country as advertising budgets are usually the first to be cut. The prevailing brain-drain is
also affecting the skills base of the industry which is a knowledge business. Archaic and
obsolete labour laws are a serious threat as they are only concerned with the needs of the
employee without also considering the effects of the shrinking economy and the viability
challenges faced by businesses are a serious threat.

With the liberalisation of the airwaves, demand for advertising and production work for
advertising agencies will increase. The countrys advertising agencies have an
opportunity to set clear guidelines on commercial production that favours and promotes
local talent as opposed to importing fully packaged advertising material from other
countries such as far away as Australia and Europe.

Realignment of the laws to the new Constitution should create a friendlier environment
for the promotion and production of more creative advertising commercials than is the
case now, where advertising agency personnel are harassed and accosted by some
security agents when filming commercials.

Disruption caused by the digital media is in many cases beginning to substitute
advertising agency product offerings. Finally, as indicated earlier, there is the case of too
many players in a small pond.

5.3.2 Outdoor Advertising
Zimbabwe has a vibrant outdoor media industry, which accounts for a significant portion
of advertising budgets. Infrastructure and town planning in major cities is well
developed, creating a good environment for outdoor media. Demand for outdoor
advertising is increasing, especially due to the increasing cost of print, radio and TV
advertising.

The industry is dominated by one major player who does not contribute effectively in
terms of local employment creation or development of the industry. There is also lack of
transparency on how tenders for outdoor sites are administered and awarded. There is a
strong perception by most stakeholders talked to that there is a lot of underhand dealings
within local authorities.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 72

There is perceived lack of willpower from local authorities to police and regulate the
structures due to alleged underhand deals that are rampant in the awarding of sites and
the tender administration. Some structures are sub-standard and can be a hazard to the
public. Their placing is often a distraction to traffic, and they do not add any aesthetic
value to the cities and towns. Some outdoor advertising structures are a potential hazard
to vehicular traffic.

Outdoor media companies are not committed to adhering to the ADMA statutes,
although they form part of ADMA. There is a proliferation of new players within
residential environments with single or few sites that are an eyesore and are largely
unregulated.

5.3.3 Recommendations Advertising Agencies and Outdoor Media
There is an opportunity to remodel ADMA as a functional body with
permanent staff and run by CEOs of media houses. This would regulate all
aspects of the industry and actively lobby for more favourable conditions of
engagement with other stakeholders. The impact of new media must be
identified, considered and planned for to make full use.
The advertising agencies also have an opportunity to set clear guidelines on
commercial production that favours and promotes local talent as opposed to
importing fully packaged advertising material from other countries.
Foreign media-buying houses that come to compete with local companies
should be restricted as they do not add value to the economy.
ADMA should be strengthened to be able to compel outdoor companies to
adhere to acceptable industry practices.
Include local authorities, who are the providers of advertising sites, as
members in ADMA, to be compelling outdoor advertising business authorities
to be transparent and to have a more inclusive approach to awarding tenders.
Compel outdoor advertising companies to only erect structures that comply
with requirements of the city bylaws and enhance aesthetics of cities. Compel
outdoor companies to maintain the verges and road islands as part of their
agreement with local authorities.

5.4 Music Industry
According to Mhiripiri (2012), despite the lack of trustable statistics on the Zimbabwe
music industry, the vibrancy and growth of the industry can be inferred from such
phenomena as the emergence of new independent labels in recent years as well as the
development and continued existence of new music festivals during this period.

The ubiquity of live and recorded music performances in recreational places is another
indicator of the vibrancy of the sector. The industry has performed better than many other
economic sectors throughout the economic crisis experienced since the early 2000s. While

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 73

other parts of the economy were experiencing problems of low capacity utilisation and
firm closures, significant activity was visible in the music sector (Mhiripiri 2012).

Live shows were held consistently throughout this period. At a time when there were few
advertisements circulating for other products, newspapers regularly published
advertisements for music shows. At the height of the crisis when inflation levels reached
levels over 1,000 per cent, any business that could generate cash had a tremendous
advantage over those that sold on credit. The problems of hyperinflation, general
economic collapse and piracy brought about ingenious solutions, where many
innovations were made to stay in business by both the music companies and the bands
(Mhiripiri 2010). An example was the use of generators during live music shows as an
assurance against power outages, which had become endemic in Zimbabwe.

The music industry has the potential to make significant economic contributions to
national economies if there is a well-coordinated and designed system for distribution,
both locally and in export markets (Sen 2001 cited in Mhiripiri 2012).

The music industry encompasses musicians, instrumentalists and vocalists, writers
(lyricists), producers, promoters, managers, hoteliers, broadcast engineers, educationists,
dancers, filmmakers, graphic artists and traders in music instruments as well as music
recordings. At a glance it is clear that this industry employs large numbers of people. As
in any business endeavour, some succeed spectacularly, while others just get by, and
many others fail dismally.

Producers earn money by making recordings of music for the artist. If a musicians work
is good but he or she does not have the funds to pay for the recording, a producer may
record it on credit and then recover the costs from royalties on the sales of the records.

According to Mhiripiri (2012), the Zimbabwean popular music industry has now fully
developed and more than 20,000 households derive some income from it. Musicians most
commonly earn money from their music either through the payment of royalties on their
copyrighted works and related materials or from gate takings when they perform in live
shows.

Zimbabwean popular music is now big business and employs large numbers of people,
with many more aspiring to join the industry. Policies have been put into place in the last
few years in an attempt to grow the music industry and these have had remarkable
impacts on the emergence of many new musical acts (Mhiripiri J and Mhiripiri N 2007).

5.4.1 Musicians
The majority of local musicians are struggling to make ends meet from their hard work
due to rampant piracy that has invaded the music world. The few who manage to make a

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 74

living out of this once lucrative business do so from live performances and some of their
products that make their way into formal distribution channels and selling points.

Most musicians subscribe to the Zimbabwe Music Rights Association (ZIMURA)which
collects royalties on behalf of the members from radio and TV stations and pays the
musicians once a year. ZIMURA is, however, facing major challenges in collecting
royalties especially from the national broadcaster, and playlists given to ZIMURA by
broadcasters are often considered inaccurate. It is also trying without much success to
fight for the musicians Intellectual Property (IP) rights affected by piracy.

There is a lack of understanding of the value and functioning of the copyright system in
Zimbabwe from the creators of IPs to the consumers of the creative products. Law
enforcement agents such as the police, customs officials, some judiciary officers and
policy makers have limited knowledge on copyright issues resulting in charging of fines
that do not discourage copyright infringements. Prosecution of copyright infringement
offenders is slow, complex and costly.

Limited or no literature on copyright issues leaves the public and law enforcement agents
ignorant on the value of IPs. Some police officers do not take piracy offences seriously as
you sometimes see them pass through a vendor displaying pirated discs during the day
or even buy.

Non-deterrent penalties are given to offenders as magistrates have too much leeway on
sentences. Some prosecutors and magistrates do not seem to be aware of the Copyright
and Neighbouring Rights Act Chapter 26:05 Section 59(5) which says, Any person guilty
of an offence under this section shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Level 10 (that is,
US$700) or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years or both such fine and
such imprisonment in respect of each article to which the offence relates. An article
should be understood as one song, meaning that 10 CDs with 6 songs on each CD
amounts to 60 articles.

Government is not giving full support to improve the protection and implementation of
copyright and related rights. Borders are so porous that counterfeit products pass through
undetected.

5.4.2 Recommendations Musicians
There is need for extensive training of IP creators, law enforcement agents and the
public to appreciate the importance of intellectual property, which is not
considered to be of high value as compared to other countries, although one
album can easily create sales of up to US$200,000 within a year.
Create special courts to deal with copyright/IP issues that understand these issues.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 75

Prescribe deterrent penalties for offenders. The copyright law noted above
prescribes a specific penalty per article. An article should be understood as one
song.
Copyright laws must be amended in line with technology advances especially for
licensing activities due to musical files being sold digitally online.
Literature on copyright and IP issues should be made readily available with
awareness campaigns on radio, TVs, streets and other public places.
Police officers should be educated on piracy offences, and writing dockets on these
offences.
DVDs or CDs, national or international, should not be allowed to be pirated in
Zimbabwe. Regulations must be put in place to make sure blank CDs and DVDs,
duplicators or importations are done for the right cause by authorised companies
or organisations.
Consider establishing an Industrial Tribunal that adjudicates on intellectual
property and copyright cases, as South Africa has done.

5.5 Film Industry
There is no recognisable film industry in Zimbabwe. Production standards are low due to
the cost of producing a film. A simple 90-minute film requires $50,000 to produce. To be
profitable, films should be mass produced and distributed. The global distribution
platform for film is digital, and Zimbabwe is non-digital, making it very difficult and
expensive for the local industry to compete globally. Conducive venues are critical in film
production and the few available theatres in the country charge ridiculously high prices,
resulting in film production being unprofitable.

TV stations hinder instead of promoting the film industry by charging producers for
screening films. The film industry is politicised and country policies are not supportive to
film production. For example, moving around with a camera taking photos is often
regarded with suspicion.

Media does not cover the film industry sufficiently and journalists ask for payment to
cover events.

5.5.1 Recommendations Film Industry
Establish a film commission or National Film Board responsible for the film
industry -- training, funding, distribution among others, and lobbying
government.

5.6 Content Producers, Arts and Theatre
Performing arts are forms of creative activity that are performed in front of an audience,
such as music, dance, film and drama. This encompasses content producers.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 76

The businesses are funded from own resources and operations are driven by structure.
Content producers believe that good content material attracts viewers, which in turn
attracts advertising and makes the businesses profitable. Such initiatives would be
profitable if broadcasters such as ZBC paid for the content. However, producers have
stopped supplying content to ZBC and are storing their products waiting for the time
when the current environment improves or airwaves are opened to more players.

An arts academy (Amakhosi) that was interviewed by IMPI has been training professional
content producers for more than 30 years at the rate of 20 per year. Unfortunately, due to
the current economic challenges and environment, almost all the producers have left the
country and spread out all over the world where they are faring better on content
provision than is the case here at the moment.

Radio programmers do not like to air drama as they have an illusion that young people,
who are their target market, are not interested in drama but music only; hence, radio
stations have been turned into discos. Contrary to that belief, young people are very
thoughtful and want intellectual content. Because radio stations have dissociated
themselves from the distribution of the music they popularise, they have encouraged
piracy as audiences do not know where to purchase the music.

The many theatres, community halls and cinemas in most towns are now in a state of
disrepair as they have been left lying idle for long periods due to lack of support for
content producers.

There is a general lack of interest in harnessing cultural assets and content. Lack of
associations in this sector makes it difficult for the industry to lobby government with one
voice.

5.6.1 Recommendations Content Producers and Performing Arts
Content producers, film directors or writers guilds should form associations to
enable them to speak with one voice and lobby government for support.
Government should give incentives such as tax rebates to corporates that sponsor
artistic initiatives and content producers.
Government should revive community venues for performing arts, and ensure the
protection of intellectual property.
Broadcasters and users should pay in good time to enable sustainability of the
industry.

5.7 Writers and Book Publishers
The high literacy rate in Zimbabwe makes it a ready market for the consumption of
books. However, the current economic environment has seen book sales dropping as the
dwindling disposable income is channelled to basic necessities. Schools have cut budgets
significantly to the extent that book publishing is no longer profitable.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 77

Books published outside the country are often of a better quality than local ones
and there is no protection for the local publications. Printing costs in Zimbabwe are high
and the quality is often below standard compared to publications from other countries.
Proliferation of cheaper online books is also damaging the local publishing industry.

5.7.1 Recommendations Book Publishers
This industry needs to strengthen the Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association
(ZBPA) so it meets more often and establishes joint strategies to protect the
industry and to lobby government, as it did successfully some years ago.

A top priority should be to initiate a study on the impact of new media and
electronic publishing on the industry, to enable adaption of the local industry.

6 NEW MEDIA
______________________

Scholars such as Chari (2014) rightly point out that Zimbabwe is a latecomer to the
information superhighway although internet access is expanding. Therefore, getting
usage statistics for the sector is an onerous task as there are no reliable metrics and
analytics tools available to employ in gathering such data.

What follows is an overview which features approximations instead of exact figures. It
offers a broad rather than detailed outline. In the absence of empirical evidence, this
report heavily relies on findings by various scholars who have explored the internet and
media terrain of Zimbabwe, often arriving at conflicting conclusions owing to the
diversity of sources used in their scholarly inquiries.

The greatest challenge is that most international website ranking tools like Alexa do not
provide statistics for Zimbabwe. The following charts shows the minimal statistics that
could be sourced.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 78


6.1 When was the first online publication published, by whom and how many hits?
The first online publication was started in 1998, according to Tendai Chari (2011 cited in
Chari 2014) who contends that with the closure of several newspapers between 2003 and
2005hundreds of journalists migrated to countries in the SADC region and European
countries where they started online newspapers and websites.

Chari does not specify which online publication this was, but a regional bulletin site was
established earlier in Harare by the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre
(SARDC) in 1989. Also contrary to the Charis assertion, AMH maintains in an article
titled Digital journalism renaissance looms that its business weekly, The Zimbabwe
Independent was the first newspaper to have a website in 1999.

Editorially, most of the foreign-based online publications are anti-government and rely on
stringers who use pseudonyms to circumvent professional ethics, according to Chari
(2014). Charis findings come against the background of a local context in which
Zimbabwe had no online publication prior to 1994 given that Zimbabwe's first
commercial Internet Service Provider (ISP), Data Control & Systems, was only established
in 1994.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 79

SARDC, a regional knowledge resource centre based in Harare, established the first online
bulletin board in southern Africa outside South Africa 25 years ago, in 1989, where its
publications were posted and messages exchanged on small screens with flickering green,
single-colour display. This resulted in the first non-profit service provider called MANGO
(Micro-computer Access for NGOs), which was hosted at SARDC for several years before
being established as a separate entity. SARDC continues to maintain online publications
through its website, including books and periodicals, and a regional news service.

In 1997 the national Post and Telecommunications Corporation (PTC) built a national
Internet backbone to sell bandwidth to private service providers, who stood at 28 by 2007.
Chari (2014) avers that Internet WorldStats indicated that by 2012, the number of ISPs in
Zimbabwe was 128, up from just 6 in 2003.

6.2 How many online publications are in operation now?
Approximately 30 news portals, excluding blogs and discussion/chat groups, are now
operational, according to publishers statistics. All mainstream newspapers in the country
have open access web editions which account for 17 online publications operating locally.

The diaspora-based online publications continue to thrive as critical conduits for the
diaspora population to symbolically reconnect with their motherland according to Chari
(2014), with approximately 12 regularly updated foreign-based online publications.

Media scholar, Winston Mano notes that as many Zimbabweans left for Britain, the USA,
South Africa and other destinations, the internet became an important multi-platform
medium for publishing and obtaining news about the country.

According to users statistics, approximately 40 percent (5.2 million) of Zimbabwe's
population were internet users as of January 2014. This contrasts with 15.7 percent in 2011
and 0.4 percent in the year 2000. Most of the users (5.16 million) access internet via mobile
devices.

6.3 How many are locally registered and how many are foreign?
Media scholars have found that there is considerable interdependence between
mainstream and online publications and websites published by Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora. The Table shows some portals as being both content creators and aggregating
portals, that is, sharing content from elsewhere.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 80

Online Publications

Media House/Title Number of Titles Location of Date Type of Portal


Online Publisher Launched

Zimpapers 10 (incl. radio) Zimbabwe News site


AMH 4 Zimbabwe 1999 News site
ANZ 1 Zimbabwe News site
Fingaz 1 Zimbabwe News site
The Zimbabwe Mail 1 Zimbabwe News site
The Patriot 1 Zimbabwe News site
Sardc.net 3 Zimbabwe 1989 Regional news site
ZimOnline 1 South Africa Aggregator
Zimbabwe Post 1 UAE Aggregator
Byo24 News Pvt Ltd 1 UK 2010 Aggregator
Change Zimbabwe 1 UK Aggregator
Nehanda Radio 1 UK News & Aggregator
The New Zimbabwe 1 UK News & Aggregator
SW Radio Africa 1 UK News site
The Zimbabwean 1 UK News site
Zimbabwe Mail 1 UK News & Aggregator
ZimEye 1 UK News & Aggregator
ZimNews 1 UK Aggregator
Voice of America 1 USA News & Aggregator
ZimDaily 1 USA Aggregator
The Zimbabwe Times 1 USA 2006 News & Aggregator
Zimbabwe Daily 1 Aggregator
The Zimbabwe 1 Australia Aggregator
Situation


6.4 What countries host most of the foreign online publications?
According to the findings above, the United Kingdom hosts the most foreign online
publications for Zimbabwe followed by USA, SA, Australia and the UAE, among others.

6.5 Can we rank the big six media companies (Zimpapers, AMH, ANZ, Zimbabwe
Mail, Gemazo and Modus) in terms of digital media products use and revenue?

It is not possible to ascertain the following or the revenue of respective media houses
unless the media companies avail data gleaned from their user metrics, analytics and
statistics (especially via Google Analytics) for a shared frame of comparison to determine
how they are performing.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 81

Using Alexa, it is possible to ascertain the ranking of Zimbabwean online publications
although the data is often estimates rather than actual figures. More reliable data can be
gleaned though Google Analytics although this method requires access to the back-end of
the domains in question. The table shows online publications that consistently rank at the
top in Zimbabwe.

Online Publications Consistently Ranking at the Top in Zimbabwe
Source Publication Ranking Year
Creative Loop using NewZimbabwe 2 2012 December
Alexa.Com rankings Herald 3
NewsDay 4
Bulawayo24 5
Nehanda Radio 6
ZimDiaspora 7
ZimbabweSituation 8
MyZimbabwe 9
The Standard 10
Daily News 12
The Independent 13
Sunday Mail 18
Financial Gazette 21
Creative Loop using NewZimbabwe 1 2013 June
Alexa.Com rankings Herald 2
NewsDay 3
Bulawayo24 4
Nehanda Radio 5
Zimbabwe Situation 7
NewsDzeZimbabwe 8
Daily News 9
ZimEye 11
ZimDiaspora 12
Sunday Mail 13
The Zimbabwean 14
The Independent 15
The Chronicle 17
The Standard 18
Kwayedza 21
Financial Gazette 24
Although most traffic to online publications derives from the Diaspora who are more
prone to habitual and regular online media tendencies than local residents there is clear
indication that they significantly read mainstream websites locally, which accounts for the
high rankings of The Herald andNewsDay in 2012 and 2013, exceeded only by
NewZimbabwe, which is mainly a news aggregator that often leverages on content from
mainstream media and as such, hardly publishes on its own steam.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 82

However, an analysis of mobile-based news consumption in Zimbabwe shows that
NewsDay is the most read website by mobile users, followed by The Herald as indicated by
the chart showing the Top 10 websites.

Can we tabulate the digital media products domiciled in Zimbabwe, including news
sites as well as social media, etc?

Digital Media Products Domiciled in Zimbabwe


Digital Product Owner/Publisher
10 websites Zimpapers
18 social networking sites incorporating FB pages
and Twitter accounts for The Herald, The Chronicle,
Sunday Mail, The Sunday News, Kwayedza, BH24,
The Manica Post, B-Metro as well as GooglePlus and
LinkedIn accounts for BH24.
4 websites AMH
8 social networking sites (including FB pages and
Twitter accounts for NewsDay, The Southern Eye, The
Standard and Zimbabwe Independent)
ZimClassifieds

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 83

6.7 Approach to ICT and New Media
Zimbabwe does not have a unified management and administration of ICTs and the
media sectors. As stated earlier on, in actual practice, it is difficult to distinguish ICTs
from information and the media. The two sectors play a complimentary role but the
approach that government has adopted especially to the development of the important
sector of ICTs is detrimental to the unified growth of these two sectors.

One important recommendation is that ICT as part of information should fall under the
portfolio of the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services and not split as
at present where one ministry has the information portfolio while the ICT ministry is a
standalone entity. As a result of the current setup, the impact of the ICT development is
not recognisable throughout the whole country and yet all countries that are developing
rapidly have their ICTs sector growing at breathtaking speeds. There exist great
opportunities to attract huge investment in the ICT sector but because of the current
approach as well as other factors militating against general investment in the country,
Zimbabwe has not fully benefited in this area.

6.8 Conclusion and Recommendations -- New Media


Our inquiry reveals that, despite the perspective of the Ministry of Information, Media
and Broadcasting Services indicated in the Terms of Reference for this study, an analysis
of developments at Zimpapers and AMH, and to some extent ANZ and Modus in the
reconfiguration of their businesses to embrace digital, reveals that they are no longer in
the category of technological dinosaurs! A detailed study should be produced across
the media spectrum to indicate the current impact of new media on the traditional media
sector in Zimbabwe, and point the way forward.

Having established in the preceding sections an estimated status of current publications, it


is critical for the established media houses to form a credible audit bureau of circulation,
whose board should consist of media executives, so the outlets get credible statistics from
which to market their brands.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 84

INFORMATION &
7 RECOMMENDATIONS
MEDIA PANEL OF
MEDIA AS BUSINESS INQUIRY

7.1 Newspapers
7.1.1 A stimulus package should be introduced, based on new business models,
to resuscitate the newspaper industry with loans available to media houses at
low interest rates.
7.1.2 Taxes should be reduced to facilitate growth of the industry, and multiple
taxation removed, including fees levied by Zimbabwe Media Commission.

7.2 Magazines
7.2.1 Magazines must be recognised as mainstream media, with relevant
statutory instruments to position the industry, with focus on the requirements for
conversions and start-ups using new media platforms.
7.2.2 The local magazine industry must be protected with tariffs levied on
foreign-registered publications.
7.2.3 Training modules for magazine publishing must be introduced into
journalism training, including new media platforms.

7.3 Print
The local printing industry must be capacitated to be efficient and improve
quality, local paper industry resuscitated, and labour laws reviewed.

7.4 Circulation
The established media houses should register their publications with the Audit
Bureau of Circulation, an international voluntary organisation consisting of
publishers, advertisers and advertising agencies, whose main function is to
provide a standard procedure to calculate net paid sales, with circulation
figures checked and certified by an approved firm of chartered accountants.

7.5 Broadcasting
7.5.1 ZBC must be recapitalised with the clear objective of improving the quality
of programmes based on a sustainable business model, as well as improving
national coverage and reception.
7.5.2 Preparations for digitisation must be fast-tracked with public explanation
of implications, and coordinated plans for content production for local
consumption and export. Digitisation must be linked to ZimAsset and the
indigenisation policy, to give opportunities for local business owners to
participate in the media industry.
7.5.3 A Broadcasters Association must be formed to uplift the standards of the
industry, and enable stronger lobby of various stakeholders, including reduction
of fees paid to advertising agencies and statutory bodies.
7.5.4 Consideration should be given to usage of broadcast licensing fees which
are intended for coverage in the national interest.
. continued

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 85

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
7 RECOMMENDATIONS continued
INQUIRY
MEDIA AS BUSINESS

7.6 Advertising Agencies


7.6.1 ADMA must be remodelled as a functional body with permanent staff,
run by CEOs of media houses (print and electronic), to regulate all aspects of
the industry and lobby for more favourable conditions of engagement with
other stakeholders.
7.6.2 The impact of new media must be identified, considered and planned for
to make full use.
7.6.3 Advertising agencies must set clear guidelines on commercial production
that favours and promotes local talent.
7.6.4 Foreign media-buying houses must be restricted as they do not add value
to the economy.

7.7 Outdoor Media


Outdoor media companies must adhere to acceptable industry practices or
face stiff penalties. Local authorities should be members of ADMA for this
purpose, and ensure that structures comply with city bylaws and enhance the
aesthetics of cities, as well as compelling outdoor companies to maintain the
verges and road islands.

7.8 Musicians
7.8.1 Extensive training is needed for IP creators, law enforcement agents and
the public to understand piracy offences and appreciate the importance of
protecting Intellectual Property (IP).
7.8.2 Special courts must be created to deal with copyright/IP issues and
deterrent penalties prescribed for offenders.
7.8.3 Copyright laws must be amended in line with technology advances
including the prevention of duplication mechanisms; and literature on
copyright/IP issues must be readily available.

7.9 Film Industry


A film commission or National Film Board must be created, with responsibility for
supporting the film industry through training, funding, distribution, and lobbying
government.

7.10 Content Producers


7.10.1 Content producers, film directors and writers guilds should form
associations to enable them to speak with one voice and lobby government on
key issues, such as tax rebates for corporates that sponsor content.
7.10.2 Broadcasters must pay in good time to enable sustainability.
. continued

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 86

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
7 RECOMMENDATIONS continued
INQUIRY
MEDIA AS BUSINESS

7.11 Book Publishers


7.11.1The Zimbabwe Book Publishers Association (ZBPA) must be supported
to be more active as a vehicle for advocacy and lobbying.
7.11.2 A study of new media and electronic publishing is needed to enable
modernising of the local industry.

7.12 New Media


7.12.1 A detailed study is needed across the media spectrum to study the
impact of new media on the traditional media sector in Zimbabwe, and
point the way forward.
7.12.2 Smart ownership models must be adopted, with cross promotion of
products and services, to enable investment in the expansion of internet-
related infrastructure, including review of current business models to
incorporate new IT platforms.








IMPI









Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 87

8 APPENDIX
_____________

8.1 NEWSPAPERS AND ADVERTISING PERFORMANCE



Zimbabwean newspaper publishers have an inexplicable predisposition towards the
figure 32 as the regular pagination of the newspapers that they publish. Whether or not
their advertising departments are raking in sufficient advertising content required to
justify that number of pages or not, appears to be an issue of no major consequence to
them. Traditionally, in Zimbabwe and elsewhere, a ratio of 40 percent of editorial content
to 60 percent advertising has been regarded as ideal to achieve publishing viability. The
advertising content of The Herald in the period soon after independence in 1980 was so
high that it occasionally reached up to 65 percent. The Herald and The Chronicle were the
only two daily newspapers publishing at the time, and the two publications enjoyed a
monopoly of the national daily newspaper ad-spend.

In those days, when a newspaper could easily reach more than 60 percent advertising
content, the editors often complained that news was being squeezed out of their
newspaper by advertising, when news was, indisputably, the lifeblood of the publication,
given that news attracts the readers, who in turn draw the advertisers. Readers also
complain when the quantity of news diminishes as advertising escalates.

Over the years since then, the advertising content of mainstream newspapers has
declined, apparently irreversibly. Today Zimbabwe is served by a total of eight daily
newspapers -- The Herald, NewsDay, Daily News, The Zimbabwe Mail, The Chronicle, Southern
Eye, H-Metro and B-Metro, the last two published in Harare and Bulawayo, respectively.
Some of the daily and weekly newspapers are regularly printed with advertising content
as low as one percent, with the awesome balance being devoted to news content. In the
editorial/advertising configuration of local newspapers, the viability of a publishing
company can only be achieved and maintained on the basis of a high advertising content,
especially as print runs are low, as has become the pattern in Zimbabwe.

Yet some newspaper managers maintain a total of 32 pages as if it is some mandatory


pagination in the industry, whether or not there is advertising content to support that
number of pages. Where a reduction in the number of pages to, say, 24 or even 16 would
be preferable in order to increase the advertising percentage to a more realistic level, 32
pages are still printed. It is argued that readers prefer the thick feel of a newspaper. But
the thickness comes at a cost that readers may be unaware of.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 88

Not only does such practice reduce advertising revenue, but also entails more hard work
for reporters who struggle to generate sufficient editorial copy to fill the large number of
blank pages so created. The sub-editors nightmare is to be presented with countless
pages that are totally devoid of advertising content. Exhausted and often challenged
beyond their capacity, they seek to circumvent this vexing problem by resorting to
downloading lengthy features from the Internet, often to the detriment of the quality and
relevance of editorial content. Such situation has potential to drive away readers and
further reduce the potential to attract advertising.

The printing of page after page of grey matter, sometimes unbroken by pictures, as
happens in some newspapers, alternating with whole pages of pictures, some of them
uncaptioned and clearly intended to fill space, diminishes the relevance and interest of the
newspaper to its readers. Columnists with an uncanny ability to churn out articles of
prodigious length become the darling of editors as they routinely assist to take care of
gaping pages, whether or not the readers share the enthusiasm of the editors over their
masterpieces.

This combination of factors is guaranteed to result in a decline in circulation which in turn


reduces the level of advertising content, as advertisers and advertising agents tend to
follow large print runs and high circulations. When circulation is low, as has become the
case in Zimbabwe over the past 10 years or so, circulation revenue becomes precarious.
Newspaper executives have been forced to inflate their circulation figures to attract
advertisers, with each of the major daily newspapers claiming it is the largest selling in
Zimbabwe.

By way of comparison, Zambias most successful newspaper, The Post, is clearly the
undisputed market leader. On Wednesday, June 20 2014, during a visit to Lusaka by an
IMPI delegation, The Post printed 55,000 copies of the newspaper, while the total
advertising volume in the 32-page issue was 20.5 pages (64 percent). The Posts two major
rivals, The Daily Mail and The Times of Zambia, are both struggling.

A combination of low advertising and low circulation revenues is a veritable recipe for the
poor viability of a newspaper publishing company. A number of newspapers have been
forced to resort to donor funding in such circumstances, a situation that has the potential
to undermine their editorial independence if the benefactor has an agenda to interfere
with the editorial line of a publication. Links to donor funding are routinely and robustly
denied, even when details are in the public domain.

The Zimbabwean is a typical donor-funded newspaper. Carrying virtually no advertising


content, the newspaper is published in the United Kingdom, printed in South Africa and

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 89

transported to Zimbabwe, where it sells a few thousand copies. It has, however, survived
since launch in 2004. Its operations, including printing, transport and other running costs
are funded by donors in the United Kingdom, and the content is clearly designed to
appease its funders. Judging from the newspapers poor performance in the local market,
Zimbabwe newspaper readers are clearly wary of such linkages. Donor funders appear to
be prepared to sacrifice publishing performance and journalistic standards on the altar of
political expediency. Thus, a major drawback of donor-funded newspaper publishing is
that it is a disincentive to the achievement and maintenance of high standards of
journalism.

Advertising Performance
The following tables reflect the advertising performance of various Zimbabwean
newspapers. The figures were compiled in an exercise conducted over periods of one
week each during the months of June and July, 2014.

Daily Newspapers
Week of Monday, June 23 to Sunday, June 27, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 32 10 33

Daily News 24 6 26

NewsDay 32 7 23

H-Metro 32 2 6

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 6 19.5


Tuesday June 24, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 26 5 31

Daily News 24 3 14.6

NewsDay 32 7 25

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 90

H-Metro 32 1 3

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 17

Wednesday, 25 June, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 38 9 26

Daily News 24 3 16

NewsDay 32 7 23

H-Metro 32 1 4.6

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 6 20


Thursday, 26 June, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 56 32 58

Daily News 24 4 19

NewsDay 32 14 45

H-Metro 32 1 5

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 17

The Financial Gazette 44 21 49

Friday, 27 June, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 34 14 41

Daily News 24 9 40

NewsDay 32 13 43

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 91

H-Metro 32 5 17

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 16.4

The Manica Post 40 8 20

The Independent 24 17 73

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio(%)

The Herald 16 4 30

Daily News 24 2 8

NewsDay 24 1 5

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 4 13

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Sunday Mail 50 29 59

Daily News on Sunday 24 3 1/8 13

The Standard 64 8 14


Free Newspaper

Harare News

Issue No. 12 July 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

Harare News 20 4 24

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 92

Weekly Newspapers
Week from Sunday, July 13, 2014 to Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Standard 64 7 12

Sunday Southern Eye 24 1 6.25

The Sunday Mail 54 23 44

Monday, July 14, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio(%)

The Herald 30 14 1/2 48

H-Metro 32 1.12 4

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 4 15

NewsDay 32 10 36

Daily News 24 5 23

Southern Eye 24 2 8

Chronicle 12 2 21

Tuesday July 15, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 24 7 29

NewsDay 32 9 28

H-Metro 32 1/8 0.3

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 4 15

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 93

Daily News 24 7 32

The Southern Eye 24 1 5

The Chronicle 12 2 23

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 26 8 32

H-Metro 32 1 3

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 16

Daily News 24 5 22

The Southern Eye 24 2 9

NewsDay 32 6 21

Chronicle 12 3 25

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 54 30 57

NewsDay 32 20 62.5

H-Metro 32 11/8 3.5

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 16

Daily News 24 9 38.5

The Financial Gazette 44 17 40

Southern Eye 24 1 7

Chronicle 42 25 61

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 94

Friday, July 18, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio (%)

The Herald 40 20 50

NewsDay 24 15 64

H-Metro 32 3 10

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 5 17

Daily News 24 5 23

The Manica Post 32 7 23

The Southern Eye 24 2 8

The Independent 56 9 34

Chronicle 14 5 37.5

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Publication Total Advertising Advertising to


Pages Pages Editorial Ratio(%)

The Herald 24 3 14.5

NewsDay 24 1 5

The Zimbabwe Mail 32 6 20

Daily News 24 3 14.5

Chronicle 16 1 7.8

For purposes of estimating the actual revenue generated by the respective newspapers it
must be born in mind that the figures cited in the tables above include complimentary
bookings, which are routinely offered to clients, especially by newer newspapers as they
struggle to gain traction in the advertising market. This is done for any one or
combinations of the following reasons: to fill space, to create a positive impression of

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 95

advertising performance, or as a public relations exercise to build confidence with clients
or advertising agencies.

The figures include bookings by small or new clients whose payment record is poor or
low, resulting in write-offs. When the economy is down, the amount of advertising
declines and the number of write-offs increases. Many newspaper advertising bookings
are agreed on the basis of generous discounts offered by advertising managers anxious to
boost percentages, again a common practice among newer publications. Newspapers
often launch their classified sections on the basis of unpaid-for bookings to entice new
clients or to create positive impressions.

Finally, there is no fixed advertising rate that applies to all newspapers, especially among
the tabloids. New publications tend to offer the lowest rates per page, while established or
successful newspapers can exploit their pole positions in the market to pitch their rates at
the highest level. As a rule, new newspapers initially struggle for survival. Initially
launched in 2011, The Mail collapsed after eight months on the streets. It was re-launched
as The Zimbabwe Mail under new ownership in December 2013.

The following are the full-page, full-colour advertising rates for Wednesday bookings
during August 2014.

Daily newspapers US$


The Herald 2 967.00
Chronicle 2 754.00
Daily News 2 150.00
NewsDay 1 772.40
The Zimbabwe Mail 1 260.00
Southern Eye 1 200.00
H-Metro 642.00

Weekly newspapers US$


The Sunday Mail 4 212.00
The Sunday News 3 871.00
The Manica Post 2 917.00
Zimbabwe Independent 2 167.20
The Daily News on Sunday 2 150.00
The Standard 1 848.00
The Financial Gazette 1 783.60
The Zimbabwean 380.00

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 96

8.2 EFFECTIVE PRACTICES AND LESSONS FROM THE REGION

8.2.1 KENYA Nation Media Group

Nation Media Centre, Nairobi


David Aduda, Editorial Administration Manager

The NationMedia Group (NMG) founded by His Highness the Aga Khan in 1959 has
become the largest independent media house in East and Central Africa. It has been
quoted on the Nairobi Stock Exchange since the early 1970s.

As the leading multi-media house in the East African region, it has print as well as
electronic media and the Internet, which attracts a regular readership quite unparalleled
in the region.

On the financial front, the group's performance over the years has been outstanding even
in the leaner economic periods in the country and shows continuous growth and profits for
the company as well as the shareholders.

It is a multimedia organisation that is also present in Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. In


Tanzania, the group publishes The Citizen (English) and two Kiswahili language
newspapers. In Uganda, the group owns The Daily Monitor, NTV Uganda, two radio
stations -- KFM and a station that broadcasts in the local Luganda language. In Rwanda
NMG has a radio station called KFM.

In Kenya NMG owns The Daily Nation, The Saturday Nation and The Sunday Nation and
the Kiswahili Taifa Leo, The Business Daily, a regional weekly The East African, two television
stations which are NTV and QTV (Kiswahili), and two radio stations -- Nation FM (English)
and QFM in Kiswahili. All of these products have web editions.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 97

Product Mix

The Daily Nation has three editions that are published to cater for three specific markets --
Nairobi, Mombasa and the western region.

Newspaper Circulation
Sunday Nation has the biggest circulation of 220,000.
Daily Nation 180 000
The Business Daily 10 000
Taifa Leo 20 000
The East African 20 000

Business Model
The newspapers business model is premised on the sales revenue principle of 60 percent
advertising and 40 percent editorial content, thus the space distribution is based on this
model.

Revenue Contribution Newspapers bring 80 percent; Broadcasting, 19 percent; and Digital


media ,one percent.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 98

Conditions of Service and Benefits for Journalists
The group employs about 1,000 media workers in Kenya and the number doubles to 2,000
for the entire region.
Entry level salary: $1 000
Editorial managers average salary: $6 000
Interest free car loans
Mortgage facilities
Interest free education loans.

NMB Organogram

Group Editorial Structure/Strategy


The group editorial director (in charge of news) ensures harmony within the group and has
managing editors who are in charge of the different content platforms. The news
gathering operations are headquartered in Nairobi with seven bureaus operating
throughout the country. There are 47 counties staffed by either the groups own reporters
or syndicated to the government information service that serves all the groups products,
and they can report across all platforms using smart phones for television and radio.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 99

Newspaper Distribution
Nation courier transports throughout the country and offers courier services on commercial
basis.

Media Lab
The Nation Media Group started its own media training programme seven years ago. It
was born out of a need to meet the expansion requirements of the group across the
region and its niche products.

We started radio and television stations across the region in Rwanda and Tanzania where
the standards are different and there are some language barriers. So we get students who
are finishing their courses like law, technology, accounting, and economics, among
others. We take them through class and field training for nine months. Some of the courses
are taught by our own people such as news anchoring and we also use university
lecturers. We now have a pipeline of people to employ. The lab has about 20 students
from the four countries. Out of the graduates we train, 60 percent have remained, says
David.

LESSONS FOR ZIMBABWE

KENYA ZIMBABWE
The Nation and The Standard are listed on Only Zimpapers has a similar listing, while
the Nairobi Stock Exchange. It's is a big most of the media companies are
sector in the country's economy. struggling to survive as marketplace
businesses.
Multimedia business strategy Parallels can be drawn with Zimpapers and
Alpha Media Holdings, although neither of
them has a television platform
Regional business thrust Similarities can be drawn with Zimpapers
but scope for more is possible.
Enabling legislation SADC opens up the region for cross border
investments in media, which should be
vigorously pursued by Zimbabwean media
companies.
Need to quickly open up the airwaves for
all players to enter the television and radio
markets.
Media Lab Only Zimpapers is working on a similar in-
house training model.
International exposure. NMG collaborates This is limited to private media houses while
with WAN, ICJ, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a the public media associates with WAN only.
yearly fellowship in the US or Canada,
among other international agencies.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 100

8.2.2 ZAMBIA

IMPI also visited Zambia to establish the state of the media in that country. The main
objective was to learn the operations of the media in Zambia and also to adopt best
practices. The IMPI team visited The Daily Mail, The Post, Zamcom, Panos Southern Africa
Limited, Zambia Community Media Forum, Zambia Broadcasting, Radio Yatsini, MISA
Zambia, among others.

PRINT MEDIA

There are four main newspapers in Zambia --The Post, Daily Mail, its sister newspaper, The
Times of Zambia, and The Nation. The Post is a privately owned newspaper while The Daily
Mail and The Times of Zambia are owned by government. The Nation is a new player in the
market, recently established, privately owned, and considered to be anti-government.

Under the print media section, interviews were held with the deputy managing editor of
The Daily Mail and the editor-in-chief as well as the senior general manager of The Post.

THE DAILY MAIL

Ownership

The Daily Mail was established in the 1950s as a privately owned newspaper known as The
Central Africa Mail and it was owned by Alexander Scott. The government of Zambia took
over the ownership of the newspaper at independence in 1964. The newspaper remained
a weekly until the 1970s when it became a daily newspaper. The Daily Mail has six board
members including the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, a
representative from the Law Society of Zambia, media field professionals, training sector
representatives and two others appointed by government.

Circulation and Print

The Daily Mail has a print run of about 22,000 copies daily, and this is going down mainly
because of the competition newspapers in Zambia are facing from the electronic media.
The highest circulation figure the newspaper ever attained was 70,000 copies a day.

Advertising

The business model for The Daily Mail is an advertising/editorial ratio of 60/40. The number
of pages printed each day is determined by the quantity of advertisements the
newspaper gets on a daily basis.

Printing

The Daily Mail owns its own printing infrastructure and prints its own newspaper editions,
and also prints for other smaller newspapers to increase its revenue.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 101

Distribution

Distribution is a major challenge for newspapers in Zambia. The Daily Mail relies on public
transport, for example, buses, to distribute the newspaper to remote parts of the country.
As a government-owned newspaper, The Daily Mail feels that it has a social responsibility
to distribute the newspaper to all parts of the country, an exercise which the company
acknowledges is very expensive. In the capital Lusaka, and the Copper Belt, as well as
towns such as Chipata and Livingstone, The Daily Mail uses its own vehicles for distribution.
The newspaper also uses the postal service to distribute the newspaper to remote parts of
the country.

Operating as a Business

Although The Daily Mail is government-owned, the organisation was instructed to operate
as a business. Some of the strategies the newspaper employs in order to do so include
publishing stories that sell. From the newspapers assessment, it discovered that it is no
longer the political story that sells but the human interest one.

The newspapers main source of income is advertising, and the ratio of advertising to
editorial is 60/40 in order to make the business viable. The Daily Mail is also involved in
commercial printing whereby the printing machinery is used to print newspapers for
smaller organisations that do not have their own printing equipment. It also prints books for
various clients.

Other strategies that the newspaper uses in order to operate as a business include
publishing sponsored columns, expanding the scope of stories in order to provide wider
coverage. People want to read about stories that concern them. The Daily Mail is in the
process of developing its website so that it attracts advertisers online and to enable
people in the Diaspora to subscribe to the e-publications.

THE POST

Ownership

The Post is Zambias largest newspaper. It was established in 1991 and was launched as a
weekly. It started publishing twice a week in 1993 and became a daily newspaper in 1995.

Initially, The Post had 32 shareholders, but most of the shareholders have sold their shares.
The newspaper is now owned by a Trust which owns about 98 percent of the shares.

Circulation and Print

The Post has a print run of between 50,000 to 60,000 copies a day.

Advertising

The Post newspaper does not follow any advertising to editorial model for its operations.
The newspaper accepts all the advertisements that it receives even if it means killing some
stories in order to accommodate the advertisements because the organisation realises

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 102

that its objective is to make profits. Major advertisers in Zambia are the telecommunication
companies, the government and the parastatals.

The estimated total ad spend in Zambia is about 8 to 9 million Kwacha a month.


According to Mr Fred Mwembe, The Posteditor-in-chief, the newspaper gets about 5
million Kwacha, which is more than 50 percent share of the total advertising revenue in the
industry.

Printing

The Post owns a printing machine and prints its own newspaper. The organisation also
prints for other smaller newspapers. The Post buys newsprint from South Africa because it is
cheaper to buy from the neighbouring country. The organisation takes advantage of its
own transport company to ferry the newsprint from South Africa.

Distribution

The Post distributes its newspaper to all provinces in Zambia and to about 90 percent of all
districts in Zambia. In order to sustain the distribution of newspapers, The Post introduced a
courier service whereby the organisation carries parcels for people when they go to
various parts of the country distributing the newspaper. The courier service has expanded
and the organisation now carries goods to and from neighbouring countries such as South
Africa.

Operating as a Business

In order for its business to remain viable, The Post has diversified its operations. Apart from
introducing the courier service which is aimed to cut distribution costs, the organisation is
also an internet service provider. The Postis also published online, but realises that many
organisations are on the internet but they (the newspaper) do not get much money from
the internet. After this realisation, The Post decided to provide internet services to others so
that they could expand their revenue base.

As part of its diversification drive, The Post is also at an advanced stage to establish a radio
station and to integrate its services.

Challenges

Some of the challenges the newspaper is encountering include lack of skills. The
newspaper faces a lack of sub-editing skills. Mr Mwembe lamented that there is a general
decline in the standards of journalism throughout the region.

The newspaper also faces competition from outdoor advertising. There is a vibrant outdoor
advertising sector in Lusaka, in particular. The streets and roads are littered with billboards
and this takes away business from newspapers, radio and television stations. According to
Mr Mwembe, this is a sad development because billboards do not add much value
because they have no news anddo not entertain.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 103

Newspapers in Zambia also have challenges working with advertising agencies.
Newspaper companies allege that agencies do not pay media houses on time, and they
feel cheated.

Community Newspapers

There are a few community newspapers in Zambia compared to community radio


stations. Community newspapers face a lot of challenges which include lack of
equipment and other resources. Because of these challenges, community newspapers are
not published consistently. Most donors prefer to support community radio stations which
are believed to have more reach to the people in all parts of the country.

Pricing of newspapers

The cover price for newspapers in Zambia is three Kwacha, which is the equivalent of 50
cents. This is half the price of most newspapers in Zimbabwe.

Registration

The newspaper registration process in Zambia is slightly different from the process in
Zimbabwe. In Zambia, all one has to do is register with the Registrar of Societies, produce a
copy of the minutes where the issue of starting a newspaper was discussed, and also state
whether it will be a daily, weekly or monthly publication.

BROADCASTING RADIO

There are about 80 radio stations in Zambia. Of these, more than 70 are community radio
stations. While Zambia is considered to have a thriving community media, there are reports
of intimidation of journalists who work for the community radio stations and their news
sources. There are reports that sometimes people are threatened and locked up by the
police.

According to Panos Southern Africa, the government of Zambia does not protect
journalists. They told IMPI that journalists have been attacked in public places, and they
have been beaten up. Station managers have been threatened for featuring what is
considered to be opposition material on the community radio stations. This tends to
influence the editorial policies of some community radio stations.

There are many radio stations in Zambia because radio is also considered to be a cheap
source of news and information, unlike community newspapers.

Sustainability
Community radio stations are not supposed to operate as a business, so some are
changing their licences to operate as commercial entities in order for them to be
sustainable. In order to raise revenue, most community radio stations sell programmes that
other people can support. There are also other attempts to find ways of making
community radio stations viable.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 104

RADIO YATSANI

Radio Yatsani is one of the community radio stations in Zambia. It was established in 2007
under the Archidiocese of Zambia. It was licensed under Christian Radio and run by the
Catholic Church.The station mainly focuses on religion, current affairs, education and
health programmes, among other issues. The station incorporates other programmes such
as health because of the realisation that the community has other people who listen to
the station who are not Catholics.Radio Yatsani has two departments, which are the news
and production departments.

Challenges
Radio Yatsani faces a number of challenges, including lack of expertise within the
Catholic community. In order to remedy the situation, the radio station invests a lot of time
and energy in training inexperienced journalists who come to work at the station.
However, after gaining experience, the journalists often leave, according to station
manager, Father Singini.

Another challenge that Radio Yatsani faces is lack of resources. According to Father
Singini, most community radio stations in Zambia are struggling, but commercial radio
stations are thriving. This is so because programming for commercial radio stations is
commercial, while about 50 percent of their station is Catholic. He said some Catholics
shun certain programming.

Sustainability
Sustaining community radio stations is a major challenge in Zambia. The station does not
receive subsidies from the Catholic Church. The station has to raise funds on its own
although it mainly depends on sponsored programmes and advertisements. Due to
financial challenges, the station sometimes finds it difficult to meet the production costs.

BROADCASTING TELEVISION

The Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) is a state-owned television and


radio station. It is the oldest and largest radio and television service provider in Zambia. It
was established by an Act of Parliament in 1987, which was passed to transform the
Zambia Broadcasting Services from being a government department under the Ministry of
Information and Broadcasting Services into a statutory body called the Zambia National
Broadcasting Corporation.

The corporation has two television channels and three radio stations. ZNBC operates as a
public service broadcaster. Its main mandate is to provide radio and television services to
the public, not to make profit. Television 2was introduced mainly to decongest Television 1.
ZNBC maintains the provisions stipulated in the Act that there should not be more than ten
percent advertising in a period of one hour. Television 2 is an entertainment channel and it
also features some business related programmes.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 105

Funding

ZNBC gets funding through grants. The broadcaster enjoys editorial independence
because it hasclear editorial guidelines. The broadcaster is not prepared to compromise
because of commercial interests.

Listenership

There are about five million listeners for Radio 1 and Radio 2, and about five million viewers
for Television 1, while Television 2has about 2.8 million viewers. It is estimated that there are
about 2.8 million television sets in Zambia, a figure based on a count of households.

New Technologies

ZNBC uses new technologies to receive feedback from consumers. It is through the
feedback channels that the broadcaster reviews its rating from audiences.

Challenges
One of the challenges facing the electronic media in Zambia is that the country does not
have a film school. Therefore, local producers do not have the requisite skills to promote
local content generation. There are fears that the country might be a potential dumping
ground for cheap quality content from other countries.

The other challenge is that of inadequate financial and technical resources such as
cameras, which makes it difficult to open bureaus or for reporters to cover remote parts of
the country.

LESSONS FOR ZIMBABWE

The media landscape in Zambia and Zimbabwe is almost the same. The two
countries share almost similar challenges.
Common challenges include the distribution of newspapers. In Zimbabwe, some
media organisations also use public transport system to distribute their newspaper
to remote parts of the country. There is a similar trend in Zambia where some
newspapers such as The Daily Mail also use the public transport system for
distribution.
The only difference and the lesson learnt from Zambia is that, newspaper
organisations in the country usevarious strategies to reduce distribution costs. The
Daily Mail uses the postal services to transport newspapers to remote parts of the
country while The Post has introduced a courier service.
Newspapers in Zambia are trying to generate revenue by introducing commercial
printing services whereby they are printing for smaller newspaper organisations.
This, therefore, implies that the capacity utilisation of their machines is higher.
Newspaper organisations such asThe Post have diversified in their operations in
order to capitalise on every service they provide. The organisation provides a
courier service, internet provision service, and is soon launching a radio station. The
Post has also introduced a haulage company to transport newsprint from South

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 106

Africa. The organisation is also investing in properties by building offices throughout
the country. Some of the offices are rented out as a way of generating revenue for
the organisation. By building offices throughout the country, the organisation
increases its news coverage, advertising base and generatessome income.
The other lesson learnt from Zambia is that, while the country has several
community radio stations, most are operating on a commercial basis to generate
income for sustainability.
Another lesson learnt is that there seems to be a general shift from a focus on hard
news stories to the soft stories or the tabloid kind of stories.

8.2.3 SOUTH AFRICA


PRINT MEDIA

The South African print media is vast and varied, with a total of 2,639 publications that are
categorised as follows.

Magazines Digital Magazines Newspapers Digital


Newspapers

443 Consumer 30 Business to Business 165 Weeklies 2 Monthlies


479 Business to Business 9 Consumer 205 Dailies 1 Weekly
33 Financial Consumer 1 Community 81 Monthlies
20 Financial Business to Business 111 Saturday Papers
194 Custom Magazines 126 Sunday Papers
40 Community 284 Local Urban Newspapers
(Community)
38 l Local Newspaper Inserts
325 Local Rural Newspapers
(Community)
52 Government Inserts

There are 22 daily and 25 weekly major urban newspapers in South Africa, mostly
published in English. According to a survey by the South African Audience Research
Foundation, about 50 percent of the South African adult population are newspaper
readers and 48 percent are magazine readers. Print media accounts for about 19.3
percent of the R34.4 billion of advertising money spent in the country. Following are the
major newspaper publishers, their titles, language and circulation figures.

TIMES MEDIA GROUP


Title Language Circulation
The Sunday Times English 368 974
The Sunday World English 123 515
The Sowetan English 95 068
The Times English 50 236
Business Day English 26 300
The Daily Dispatch English 25 748
The Herald English 20 962
The Weekend Post English 20 778
The Saturday Dispatch English 20 117

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 107


MEDIA 24
Title Language Circulation
The Daily Sun English 287 222
Rapport Afrikaans 92 293
The Sunday Sun English 170 843
The City Press English 119 959
Die Son (Daily) Afrikaans 91 735
Die Burger - Saturday Afrikaans 72 788
Beeld - Daily Afrikaans 63 016
Beeld - Saturday Afrikaans 59 317
Die Burger - Daily Afrikaans 57 696
Son op Sondag Afrikaans 54 367
Sondag Afrikaans 32 867
Volksblad Daily Afrikaans 19 949
The Weekend Witness English 19 035
Volksblad Saturday Afrikaans 17 988
The Witness English 17 151

INMSA
Title Language Circulation
Isolezwe Zulu 110 753
Isolezwe nge Sotho Zulu 91 359
The Star English 80 303
Isolezwe ngo Mgqibelo Zulu 79 874
The Sunday Tribune English 70 312
The Saturday Star English 63 844
Weekend Argus English 55 731
The Independent on Sunday English 41 645
The Cape Times English 32 428
The Sunday Independent English 30 842
The Cape Argus English 30 310
The Daily News English 29 385
The Mercury English 28 396
The Pretoria News English 14 393
The Pretoria News - Saturday English 8 814
The Diamond Fields Advertiser English 8 066


INDEPENDENT
Title Language Circulation
Ilanga Zulu 107 102
Ilanga Langessonto Zulu 59 152
The Mail & Guardian English 41 116

CAXTON
Title Language Circulation
The Citizen - Daily English 49 731
The Citizen - Saturday English 28 145

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 108

BROADCASTING RADIO
There are 275 radio stations categorised as follows.

Radio Stations Community Radio Other Radio Stations
by Province
39 National / Multi-provincial or Commercial 27 Eastern Cape 3 Online Radio
208 Community Radio Stations 15 Free State 7 Border Areas
28 Other stations 43 Gauteng 4 International
23 Kwazulu-Natal 14 Internet
25 Limpopo
19 Mpumalanga
10 Northern Cape
17 North West
29 Western Cape

BROADCASTING TELEVISION
There are 15 television stations categorised as follows.

11 Terrestrial Television Channels 4 Direct-to-Home Satellite


Broadcasters

SABC 1 DStv
SABC 2 StarSat
SABC 3 OpenView HD or OVHD
M-Net Deen TV
e.tv
Cape Town TV Community Channel
Bay TV Community Channel
1KZN Community Channel
Tshwane TV Community Channel
Soweto TV Community Channel via DStv until digital
switch
ANN7 (Africa News Network) via DStv until digital
switch

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 109

SOME MEDIA PRACTICES OBSERVED
The South African Constitution protects freedom of expression and of the media.
Except for libel laws, media houses and journalists are free to publish any type of
news, without having to worry about what laws they may be violating.
Radio stations reach virtually every corner of the country.
In addition to broadcasts in English, Afrikaans and selected African languages, there
is a youth-oriented commercial station and Radio RSA, also called the Voice of South
Africa, which broadcasts externally 177 hours a week in English, French, Swahili,
Tsonga, Lozi, Chichewa, and Portuguese to other parts of Africa.
Radio 702 and Capital Radio 604 are privately-owned commercial radio stations that
operate outside the confines of the national broadcaster, SABC, and compete with
it.
There were 44 Internet Service Providers (ISPs) by year 2000, enabling easy access to
electronic media.
Competing publishers use one printing company, even though they compete on
content. For example, Caxton prints nine competing newspapers daily.
Distribution of competing publications is also done by one transporter (Allied
Distribution).
The government allows the international media to come to South Africa and to
operate freely, even when they highlight embarrassing stories. Foreign journalists and
media are given access to government officials, operate without licensing or
accreditation, and roam freely around the country, interviewing whomever they
want.
_____________________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 110

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

CHAPTER 2

INFORMATION PLATFORMS AND CONTENT

OF MEDIA PRODUCTS

Report of the Thematic Committee on

Information Platforms and Content of Media Products

PANELISTS

Dr. Nhamo Mhiripiri, Committee Chairperson

Peter Banga

Cont Mhlanga

Dumisani Muleya

Programme/Research Officer

Grace Mutandwa

IMPI




CONTENTS


The pervasive role of Information
CHAPTER 2 and ICTs in national and global
economies has made Information
a vibrant enabler, a formidable
arbiter in national and global
1. Introduction economic processes. Sadly, this
new revolution has not reflected
2. Literature Review
in Zimbabwe.

3. Key Findings
Symptomatic of this lack of
clarity on the place of, and in
Media Content
Information Platforms handling the information sector,
Statistical Analysis is the unresolved organisational
framework for this sector at the
4. Emerging Issues level of Government. The impact
of this has been to truncate the
5. Media Products and Information national response to the
Platforms Used Information revolution. ...

6. Recommendations Conceptually, the information
revolution is still conceived as
7. Appendix only a hardware and software
proposition, hardly a content
Regional Study Visits-- development challenge. .
Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia From Terms of Reference for An
Official Inquiry into State of the
Resource Materials
Information and Media Industry
in Zimbabwe

Information & Media Panel of Inquiry IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 112

1 INTRODUCTION
__________________


The assignment for this thematic committee was to carry out a study on media platforms
and the public interest, quality, adequacy and relevance of the content of media products,
such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, social media and the impact of fast-
changing technologies on delivery and consumption of content. Between April and
August 2014, this committee set out to learn the facts about information platforms and
media content from stakeholders and the general population, using quantitative and
qualitative methods.

The methodology used included an outreach programme, submissions by stakeholders,
questionnaires and interviews. However, there were some challenges to gathering factual
information. Some questionnaires were not completed and returned, or were taken away
for sharing with others at home and not returned. There was considerable scepticism
about the IMPI process with some people doubting that their views would be taken
seriously. There were also doubts about whether the inquiry would achieve its objectives
and result in a positive transformation of the media industry.

The findings on this thematic area took cognisance of the two significant aspects of this
chapter, that of the Contents of Media Products, and Information Platforms. The first
component deals with the nature and quality of media products, including how the users
of the content respond and interpret the content. The second component presupposes that
there are channels or media for transmitting information, messages and forms of
entertainment.

There are various platforms/channels/media/technologies of communication and these are
often conflated and understood in relation to their content. Oral communication cannot be
underestimated when dealing with forms and channels of information or communication.
The outreach discovered that people are more concerned with platforms and forms of
communication such as radio, newspapers, television and social media, but the real power
of social networks and the use of oral communication in these networks or communities
remains significant. This adds importance to the relaying of information through the
schools, political structures, the churches and other
institutions that might not rely heavily on mass media
and communication texts but on the word-of-mouth and THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
interpersonal communication within specific spaces.

Marshall McLuhan, the Canadian professor who rose to prominence during the initial
stages of the technology revolution in the 1960s, introduced into media content studies the
observation that the medium is the message. He wanted to explain the power of the
technology in transmitting content to audiences or receivers, using references to media

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 113

and technology determinism. Technological gadgets become extensions of human users
of such gadgets, and the power of the media is thus attributable to the nature of the
technology of transmission.

Some communication channels are conferred symbolic significance associated with the
nature of their technology. The instrumental and the symbolic content are somewhat
conflated and linked, making it difficult to separate the channel from the content.
Information generated and transmitted through oral and face-to-face communication that
is non-technologically enhanced, such as rallies, churches and political meetings, the
school system, etc., might not be cited as often in the public responses on media and
information channels, compared to what reaches the same public through radio,
television and internet.

This observation is important because during the outreach most people were quick to talk
about the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)s radio and television stations, as
well as newspaper content. However, it took some urging to discuss oral forms and
systems of communication such as information transmitted through the school system,
and political party organs, yet the latter is arguably
pervasive in their lives, especially for those that reside
Who says what to whom with
in the countryside and constitute the majority of the
what effects?
Zimbabwean population.

Harold Lasswell, an American political scientist and communication theorist writing in
the 1940s, presented a communication model that pays attention to communication
channels while also focusing on content producers and receivers, and how
communication/media content affects the receivers. The statement has been nearly
immortalized in media studies -- Who says what to whom in which channel with what
effects? Indeed direct effects of media are debatable, with most literature pointing to the
receivers ability to use and interpret materials in their own way depending on a variety
of factors including cultural background, gender and
level of education, etc. Audience as producers producers as
audience
Jensen and Rosengrens article Five traditions in search
of the audience (1990)analyses how audiences have
been progressively viewed, initially as passive and gullible tabula rasa in media reception
studies, to being active users and intelligent interpreters of material. Today there is
audience-generated media content bringing attention to phenomenon such as social
media and citizen journalism. Scholarly research on the Zimbabwean media shows that
local audiences are similarly complex and sophisticated (Chari 2014).

1.1 The significance of the public interest
All media have a public service
All media have a public service mandate regardless of
mandate.
the nature and type of ownership. There is inherently a

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 114

public service quality in the media because of their very nature, in that they can be
consumed without disadvantaging other consumers. They have an ephemeral ubiquity
that can make all who have channels to access media content not feel excluded.

Universalising access and making media content affordable ensures that media content is
more accessible to all, and reaching people across the regions of a nation or the world
becomes the ideal. However, it is also critical to make sure that the content represents the
diverse class, ethnic, racial, gender and age groups in a manner that fosters unity and a
sense of identity and belonging that fosters a need to
co-exist as equals in the respective geographic an Educate, inform and entertain as a
virtual spaces. public good

In the public interest and as a public good, the
media should educate, inform and entertain the public, offering ample space for citizens
to engage in meaningful discussions and debate. The notion of a healthy public sphere,
popularised in scholarly research by Jurgen Habermas, the German philosopher and
sociologist who wrote The Theory of Communicative Action (translated to English in 1984),
remains relevant in informing the nature and quality of the public sphere, where its
usefulness is not only measured by the quantities or numbers of people involved in mass
communications as producers and consumers (audiences) of media, but by the critical
levels of debate and reflection on issues of social justice and humanity.

The Zimbabwean media and public sphere are
discussed in a lot of literature, with most research
An imaginative way of life that is
pointing at adverse market, civil society and state
humanising.
interference in the production of journalistic content
(Moyo 2005; Mano 2005; Ranger 2005). Information
platforms and the media content that is conveyed through such channels should ideally
enhance the nature and quality of life of people through strategic uses of information,
education and healthy leisure. The content should represent a receivers imaginative way
of life in a way that is humanising, thus inspiring confidence, as opposed to material that
is derogatory, belittling or dehumanising in any way, either through implication,
insinuation or direct condescension or insults. This is the reason why the most extreme
forms of dehumanising content such as hate language are dissuaded from open use
through the mass media and other forms of social communication.

This report takes cognisance of the diversity of the Zimbabwean nation in terms of racial,
cultural and linguistic composition, and notes that specific respondents from
marginalised groups believe that they are excluded from participation and representation
in the public sphere at national level. This exclusion is apparent in both the print and
electronic media. Some ethnic groups such as the Tonga and Ndau, and a few whites, feel
they are denigrated or victims of hate speech.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 115

1.2 Information-rich and information-poor... Media-rich and media-poor
There are disparities in the way different groups of people receive information or interact
with media content. Communication and information channels and systems often sideline
or exclude the politically weak, materially poor and
historically marginalised groups such as women, Disparities in the way different people
youth, and people who reside in rural areas. interact with media content
There are historical perspectives on struggles to use
the instruments of state and political participation
(power, intergovernmental treaties and declarations, and various forms of political
advocacy and protest politics) to articulate the concepts of information and
communication as fundamental rights. The public interest normative agenda means
that the nexus between communication/information and human rights has become a
celebrated cause of grassroots political activism. This type of activism is visible in
Zimbabwe in the lobbying for community radio platforms by various pressure groups,
such as the Zimbabwe Association of Community Radios (ZACRAS) and the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter.

The state and civil society have tried to champion the universal distribution of
information and communication platforms and technologies to all people across various
divisions of society. In some instances there are contestations over the extension of these
information platforms to all people as the state and non-state actors, including the private
sector, are interested parties. Such contestations, however, are not unique to Zimbabwe.

Policymakers on information and communication at global, regional and national levels
have been concerned with the equitable production and dissemination of, and access to,
information and communication by all. This concern started in the period just prior to the
1978 Mass Media Declaration of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO).

The Mass Media Declaration came about due to an
acknowledgement that there are global imbalances and inequalities New World Information and
in the transnational flow of information and communication. This Communication Order
recognition was then linked to principles outlined in the 1948
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1980, the International Commission for the
Study of Communication Problems (also known as the MacBride Commission) published
a report titled Many Voices, One World, which explicitly called for a new, more just, and
more efficient world information and communication order (UNESCO, 1980). Also in
1980, the UNESCO General Assembly adopted a resolution for the New World
Information and Communication Order (NWICO).

All of these symbolic steps carried little weight in terms of the force of
international law but, nevertheless, they were meaningful insofar as they called
into question the naturalisation of the emerging transnational media landscape

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 116

and, in particular, they posed a symbolic challenge to the hegemony of the worlds
most powerful transnational media corporations and the authority of the national
governments that were advocating on their behalf, thus elevating the idea of a
NWICO on the international political agenda. In spite of technological
developments and attempts to promote digital technologies as a panacea to address
all imbalances, the ideal of working towards a new communication order still
remains a motivating factor for many contemporary
mobilizations (Padovani and Calabrese, 2014). the right to communicate

Information platforms should, therefore, seek to enhance the
right to communicate, which is a basic human right.

The two-phased World Summit on an Information Society (WSIS) met in Geneva in 2003
and Tunis in 2005, organised by the United Nations, setting a milestone for civic
engagement in a major intergovernmental forum. There are debates on the success or
failure of civil society in the WSIS process and other global gatherings, and literature
has described and analysed the many examples of how communication activism has
taken root in many countries, as well as how mobile technology is used to support
contentious events in different parts of the world.

These are efforts to make information and communication accessible to all people basic
human rights, regardless of class, gender, location, or any other distinctions (Padovani
and Calabrese, 2014). Debates in Zimbabwe on the licensing of community radio stations
have converged with these debates on the right to information and right to
communication, although the state and non-state actors have presented conflicting
positions at times. For instance, a ministerial pronouncement stated that community radio
licences would be issued only to historically marginalised rural communities. This was
said at a time when the MISA Zimbabwe Chapter had assisted in the formation of
community radio initiatives in manly urban areas, which are at different levels of
preparedness to start broadcasting (Mhiripiri 2011; Shamu 2011).

2 LITERATURE REVIEW
___________________

Critical literature has identified the dichotomies and political divisions in the
Zimbabwean print media, the so-called bifurcation of the media, from as early as 2005
when a special issue of the Westminster Papers dedicated to Zimbabwe was published. The
media representation of Zimbabwe in the local and global media and the controversial
banning of the Daily News in 2003 were addressed. The Daily News supposedly conspired
with the political environment leading to its closure. In other words, it was partly
culpable for its own closure. Academics also attributed the papers demise partly to the
open foreign funding received by the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
publishers of the Daily News.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 117

This allegedly compromised the papers credibility and legitimacy, and ostensibly
justified the governments accusations that the newspaper was a vehicle for the regime
change agenda that was allegedly being pushed by Western countries such as the United
Kingdom and the United States after white farmers had lost out in the land reform
implemented by the ruling Zanu-PF party at turn of the century (Mano 2005; Moyo 2005).

Polarisation of the media as an extension of the polarisation of political parties has been
written about extensively (Chuma 2013; Mhiripiri and Mutsvairo 2013; Chari 2013). Social
historian Terence Ranger (2005) coined new terms to capture the polarisation by
presenting the phenomenon of patriotic journalism vis--vis unpatriotic journalism.
Some journalists and media houses are branded sell-outs or traitors or agents of
imperialism.

Those in the public media are, in turn, criticised for sycophancy, allegedly singing for
their masters voice in praise of a rogue discredited regime (Ranger 2005; Mano 2005;
Chuma 2013).

Most studies on the media in Zimbabwe are preoccupied with representation and critical
discourse analysis to ascertain how representations and images are embedded in power
dynamics typical to a specific community. The actual business exigencies and survival
dynamics of the print media in Zimbabwe are under-researched. Issues pertaining to
professionalism and media ethics have been extensively written about, and the
degeneration of print media standards has been traced to the political problems
Zimbabwe faced after embarking on the fast-track land reform, the sanctions and
economic crisis, and the survival tactics adopted by the media in crisis times. For instance,
political polarisation has been identified as the root cause of polarisation in the print
media sector (Mahoso et al 2003; Chuma 2013; and various views expressed in this report,
Chapter 3).

There has emerged literature on the absence of a properly pluralistic broadcasting


landscape that adheres to the three-tier system recommended in the African Charter of
Broadcasting or Zimbabwes own Broadcasting Services Act. The broadcasting sector
ideally should have publicly owned stations, privately owned stations, and community
stations. The absence of community radio stations and the emergence of community radio
initiatives as an alternative platform circumventive of legal restrictions is noted (Mhiripiri
2011).

There is also the noted phenomenon of externally based broadcasters beaming into
Zimbabwe. Such stations have been variously called pirate stations or alternative
stations, depending on the political perspective of the person describing them. Foreign
stations broadcasting about issues in Zimbabwe and targeting Zimbabweans at home and
in the diaspora such as SW Radio Africa and the Voice of Americas Studio 7, have been
written about, especially with regards to their adversarial relations with the government,
and the nature of news and current affairs content produced under exile conditions
(Batiste 2010; Moyo 2010).

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 118

As the inquiry discovered, although they broadcast controversial content, these stations
are important platforms mainly Studio 7 because they are more accessible and reach
more people compared to ZBC. This report on Information Platforms will explain why
external stations are considered as one of the most reliable sources of information for
those disgruntled by the government and the programming of the state broadcasters, but
also as a broadcaster of convenience where the state broadcaster is not universally
accessible.

There is need to define what is meant by information platforms and media content, as
these can be different and varied. They can be manual or digital. Like any physical
platform, an information or media platform refers to a medium or vehicle that is used to
disseminate content, be it art, painting, theatre and film, music, games, a novel, book,
magazine, newspaper, newsletter, TV, radio, blog or website or social media, such as
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google Plus+, Tumblr, Instagram, VK, Flickr and
Vine.
Those are among the top 15 most popular social networking sites as of September 2014,
measured by eBizMBA Rank which is a continually updated average of each website's
Alexa Global Traffic Rank, and US Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.

In publishing, content basically refers to information, news and experiences that provide
value for an end-user or audience in a specific context. In other words, content is the
message and platform is the medium. The medium which is
used to deliver content affects how the audience perceives
highly interactive platforms
the information or message. Production and delivery
technologies potentially enhance the value of content by
formatting, filtering or combining original sources of
content for new audiences with new contexts.

While content is usually tailored for the public through researchers, writers and editors,
and various other content creators, not all information content requires creative writing or
edit. New technologies allow audiences to control of their content or to interact with
content they received without being expected to be passive receivers of information or
news. Due to digital technologies, the relationship between content creators and receivers
is now interactive and dynamic.

Although there are many definitions of social media, this essentially refers to internet-
based applications built on the technological foundations of Web 2.0 which allows the
creation and exchange of user-generated content, and they depend on mobile and web-
based technologies to create highly interactive platforms through which individuals and
communities share, co-create, discuss, and modify user-generated content.
Digital Media Platforms are designed to allow real-time and delayed delivery of video,
audio or data to multiple networks through certain technological software and gadgets.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 119

This makes the media landscape today a complex network of connected platforms onto
which the content is released.

Diverse Media Platforms for Storytelling and their Unique Features

PLATFORM ELEMENTS UNIQUE FEATURES

Moving image, audio,


non-interactive, fixed Popular, reaches a wide audience,
Film
interaction time, commercial
passive viewing

Moving image, audio,


Quick; episodes extend the duration of the
non-interactive, fixed
transmedia work over time with overall
Episodic Shows interaction time,
extended narrative. Changes the nature of
passive viewing,
how audience engages,
shorter, episodic

Interactive,
Players become an extension of the story
animated/moving
world: they can act as a character,
Gaming graphics, music, sound
manipulate the world, and possibly form their
effects, no fixed
own narrative.
interaction time

Toys (action Hands-on media, collectible, allows players to


figures, Playable, physical, become part of the world physically. Helps
costumes, tactile form ideas of collective identity and
trading cards) competition and passion!

Audio only, fixed


Music (Song) interaction time, single Audiences can sing along to these media.
media environment

Artwork --
Image only, no fixed Highlights key moments, encourages
photography,
interaction time, single hardcore fans to appreciate and engage
installation,
media environment further
painting, etc.

Written word, more


Literature detailed, fixed time,
Encourages readers imagination
(Novels) but longer than most
other media

Written word, images,


Graphic Novels, Encourages readers imagination, niche
expressive, fixed time
Comics market
but duration is long.

Videos, audio, text, Direct interaction with the personal audience


image, networked, fast - personalization. Encourages audience
Social Media
connectivity, participation. Bridge between the story world
interactive and the real world.

http://convergenceishere.weebly.com

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 120

3 KEY FINDINGS
______________

3.1 Media Content


Many people have resorted to subscribing to Digital Satellite Television (DSTV), not just
to access wider content but also to receive the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
signal, which most respondents said was elusive in many parts of the country. Most
people from all provinces spoke of an information embargo imposed on them by the
public broadcaster. They argued that they are completely cut off from what is happening
in the country, hence they are forced to consume foreign information products or free-to-
air channels. They said they would rather pay high subscription fees to access a variety of
better quality shows.

There was general concern from a number of stakeholders over the content of radio and
television programmes. Content producers were accused of focusing more on urban areas
and in the process interviewing urban sources and not those from the countryside. They
were not venturing into rural areas to package developmental features and
documentaries that touch the lives of the people. As a result, rural residents felt that they
were not being afforded the opportunity to air their views and articulate their daily
struggles, aspirations and triumphs.

On the other hand, producers of radio and television content argued that their
organisations were not well-resourced with vehicles and financial resources to allow them
to cover news in remote areas. Furthermore, they argued that rural areas are often
inaccessible due to the bad state of road infrastructure and that some roads are almost
non-existent because of lack of maintenance. In terms of news coverage in both rural and
urban areas, reporters said they are hampered by a shortage of transport where they
squashed into one vehicle yet they are expected to cover several different assignments in
one day. On the few occasions that the reporters have opportunities to speak to people
from rural communities, two or three interviewees are often made to appear as
spokespersons for the whole district or province.

The shortage of resources exposes reporters to brown envelopes since they are more
likely to cover NGOs or politicians who offer them transport or money. As a result, the
story is likely to be biased towards the one who offered the transport to highlight a
specific project.

In terms of news content considered, most of the people surveyed revealed that they
prefer development stories, at 45 percent of the respondents; followed by education and
development news at 14 percent; while educational articles alone account for 10 percent.
The statistics confirm that education and development are important when society
samples media products, hence the need for media houses to deepen the quality of
programming and content in these areas to sustain their business models.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 121


The inquiry found out that various ZBC programmes in Shona, Ndebele and English were
considered as mostly political and biased in favour of one political party. Content
producers explained that politicians were reluctant to let go their influence of the public
broadcaster, ZBC, and therefore reporters do not want to risk losing their jobs by insisting
on balance.

In terms of broadcast content, women said they do not hear their own voices -- as most of
the people interviewed are male. Programme producers said this is a result of the
patriarchal nature of Zimbabwean society, where some women prefer to leave men to
comment on issues (especially political issues) while they remain in the background. This
is also reflected in the demographics of the sample of the population to whom
questionnaires were administered during the inquiry. About 66 percent of the
respondents were men reflecting that males dominate in terms of interest in media issues
(see the statistical analysis that follows, in section 3.3).

In terms of content, people with disabilities said there is virtually no coverage of issues
that affect them except in instances where they are highlighted as charity cases. They are
not approached for comment on economic, social and scientific issues except when
receiving a donation of wheelchairs or sunscreen lotions. Their comments are not solicited
on policy issues. People with disabilities also expressed the view that journalists do not
understand how to cover issues that affect them. Journalists were silent when asked about
whether they are doing enough to cover disability issues. There was a complaint that
some radio stations such as ZiFM and Star FM have no programmes on disability.

Another important observation was that there are currently no radio dramas. People in
both urban and rural areas felt that radio stations are not making enough effort to
incorporate community drama groups into their programming. They said dramas present
opportunities to tell stories about their daily struggles, and make a contribution to
national development. On their part, journalists said they are not sufficiently resourced to
package dramas since the talent needs to be paid. Similarly, cultural performing groups in
the communities are not highlighted in radio programmes, through in-depth
compilations.

Respondents said there is no business and financial reporting that focuses on rural
communities. Thus the activities of junior and senior business people, including
grassroots projects are not highlighted sufficiently in radio programmes. Some listeners
complained about explicit lyrics in music, which run counter to the countrys cultural
ethos. Producers did not give an excuse for the practice, but said they would address it.

Sensational news, especially salacious stories, sex scandals, and witchcraft, are finding
space in traditionally reputable family papers such as The Chronicle and Manica Post. Such
stories are no longer the sole preserve of H-Metro and B-Metro, or the Kwayedza/Umthunya.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 122

A threat to publish personal details in the tabloids is often used by unscrupulous people
as an instrument of extortion. Misleading headlines often distort or overshadow the
content of an article.

There were complaints about the poor sound quality of the radio signal in rural areas,
which affects access to the content because listeners are not able to follow the programmes
broadcast. Station owners put the blame on Transmedia, which they said has failed to
expand transmitter coverage countrywide. Transmedia is a state-owned enterprise
established to support broadcasting and broadband infrastructure to enable access to
communication services in the furthest and most remote places in the country.

Radio listeners in rural areas complained that there is no coverage of national events such
as Independence Day and Heroes Day celebrations, and that the focus is on events in
Harare yet district and provincial celebrations have their own unique flavour which needs
to be captured. Producers said they are constrained by lack of resources such as transport
to cover such events.

Radio and television listeners and viewers in Matabeleland complained that there is very
little content generated by the ZBC Montrose Studios based in Bulawayo and mandated
to cover the Matabeleland region with content applicable to this region. Producers at
Montrose acknowledged this shortcoming but failed to give reasons, stating that the
studios are neglected, with very little coming out of the studios in terms of productions.

Stakeholders said the same programmes are recycled on ZBC radio and television,
showing a lack of creativity by the national broadcaster. People also complained about
poor, partisan, repetitive, boring and irrelevant ZBC TV content. Most people feel the
state broadcaster is not doing a good job, in fact they say it is poor and sometimes
disastrous, and thus complain about paying licence fees. This view was expressed both in
places where there is reception and in places where there is no reception.
This means that foreign broadcasters, mainly DSTV and Studio 7, have carved out their
market shares.

Sports events in rural areas and in high density areas in urban centres are not covered by
the media. Television and radio tend to concentrate on soccer in Harare or Bulawayo. This
means that talent in rural areas is not being discovered.

There were complaints that there is no educational content on radio and television as in
the case of radio lessons in the 1970s. People felt the media could be harnessed to be
useful to people who do not have any access to books.

There were complaints that childrens programmes are organised and packaged from
Harare, yet there is a lot that is happening in rural communities. Journalists said that it is
difficult for them to venture into those areas due to capacity constraints. Complaints were

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 123

made about the lack of creative programmes by and for children on radio and television,
as such programmes would help to expose talent in communities, especially through
theatre. There were also complaints about the portrayal of older people. It was felt that
through their programme content, radio and television are presenting a negative
perspective of the elders rather than showing dignity and respect for their wisdom,
knowledge and story-telling. Journalists reports said they are not producing enough
programmes on older people because of limited capacity.

There were complaints that programmes on radio and television are packaged mainly in
Shona, English and Ndebele, while minority languages are ignored. Programmes in such
languages could also be packaged with sub-titles. Viewers and listeners said that
journalists do not make an effort to understand their languages with the result that in-
depth features are not packaged in communities by competent journalists. In addition,
war veterans from former ZANLA and ZIPRA are not being given enough coverage in the
media.

3.2 Information Platforms
During the outreach programme, coupled with submission from stakeholders and
interviews, a number of issues came out strongly, with some crosscutting and others
applying to certain communities, interests groups and special groups. Some of the issues
include lack of access to information due to inadequate, insufficient and inappropriate
media platforms reached, including ZBC, newspapers, magazines and other platforms.

There was recognition of the importance of government information officers as
communicators of information and general organizers in the community, notifying people
and bringing people together, as they did for the IMPI outreach. Some information
officers are exceptional and enthusiastic in the execution of their duties, while others are
not as active. However, they operate as a key information platform and outreach
mechanism within the State structures.

There was little perception of the information sector as inclusive of schools, churches and
political parties, who are also purveyors of information to the community. Interpersonal
and verbal/oral communication remains an essential part of information and transfer of
cultural knowledge, particularly in the rural areas. One community noted their belief that
the Ministry of Health is the best communicator of official information, that which focuses
on health matters, as they use visual material such as posters as well as mass sms
messages sent through mobile phones. Some communities requested government to
publish relevant administrative information, such as the birth and death registration
requirements, in all accessible languages.

People outside big towns said they have no access to ZBC because of lack of transmitters
and signals. Where signal is available, access is inconsistent and unreliable. ZBC TV is
limited to major towns, its reach was estimated to be about 100km radius of Harare and a

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 124

THE MEDIUM IS THE MESSAGE
40km radius of Bulawayo and other cities and main
towns. Therefore, listeners in border areas rely on
radio and television stations from neighbouring countries (Botswana, Mozambique, South
Africa and Zambia) for news, entertainment and current affairs. The Zimbabwean
recipients of these external services attested to developing sensibilities closer to the nation
hosting the station.

ZBC radio stations can be received in some areas and not in others. Some people have no
access or limited access, and when they do get access, they feel the content is irrelevant,
although in some other cases they loved ZBC TV and ZBC radio. In fact, Studio 7 is the
only platform with a national reach not ZBC or DSTV.

It is the only platform on which if you say Good Morning, everybody listening can hear
you at the same time across the country, one respondent said.

Newspapers were not readily available in
rural areas, growth points and small towns
if you say Good as they either reach there late, are
Morning, everybody expensive or dont come at all. In rural
areas, growth points and small towns, most
listening can hear you at people are outside the national information
the same time across the grid as they dont have reliable sources of
country information and news. This leads to
marginalisation and alienation of vast
swathes of communities.

Mobile phone technology is driving media
innovation in Africa, including Zimbabwe,
surpassing internet and transforming communications across the continent. The increased
access to mobile technology over the past four years has led to a rise in citizen journalism
while putting pressure on conventional media outlets. What is happening today is the
existence of a platform where anybody can get information and news on their mobile
devices. Mobile users can create and receive content on their own platform, a device they
own.

Leading websites for news such as NewZimbabwe.com or Nigerias Nairaland.com, a citizen
journalism site, show how the media landscape is changing. Digital technologies are
changing how journalists gather, process and disseminate information and news. Thanks
to mobile innovation, its now also possible to transfer money, or get critical information
about agriculture, education and health issues in some of the most remote places in
Africa. Local service providers have money sending and receiving platforms which allows
users to buy airtime and pay bills.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 125

Kenyas leading mobile phone company, Safaricom, blazed the trail and has a huge
service called M-Pesa, which allows customers to transfer money to another mobile phone
user, withdraw cash, buy airtime, pay bills and make loan payments. African telecom
companies in general are leading the digital revolution, rather than traditional media
firms. Mobile companies in Africa no longer see themselves as mobile phone companies
but as media platforms and this is disrupting how traditional media works, particularly
as Africa has leapfrogged the internet and has gone to the mobile web. Because of new
technology, Africa is likely to undergo rapid changes, which will revolutionise the media
landscape on the continent, particularly if the media does not adjust and adapt to the
changing times. This impacts on platforms and content.

According to the Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Statement presented by the Finance
Minister Patrick Chinamasa, on September 10, 2014, the ICT sector during the first half of
the year showed significant investments in network expansion and fibre optic
infrastructure. A total of US$40 million has been invested into the sector by mobile and
fixed operators, as well as internet service providers, in this period.

As a result, total mobile subscribers increased from 13.6 million to reach 13.9 million
subscribers at the end of June 2014, raising the mobile penetration rate to 106.4 percent, as
many individuals have more than one phone.
Similarly, the use of internet data services rose to
43.1 percent over the same period, with data and
13.9 million mobile
internet subscribers growing by 2.9 percent to reach
phone subscribers in 5.6 million from 5.4 million. Fixed telephone
Zimbabwe by end of subscribers increased by 7.2 percent to reach
326,183 subscribers by end of June 2014, compared
June 2014
to 307,202 subscribers recorded in December 2013.

According to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
monthly review for July 2014, the value of mobile and internet-based transactions
increased by 44.61 percent, from US$268.62 million in May 2014 to US$388.46 million in
June 2014, as the wave of electronic payments continues to grow. The increasing use of
mobile devices in the country has opened the door for advanced financial products, with
consumers now able to access financial services at any time, even in the remote areas.
Econet Wireless said its mobile money-transfer platform now has 3.5 million subscribers.
Telecel Zimbabwe subscribers on a similar platform have reached 600,000 since the launch
in January 2014, with a target of 1.2 million subscribers by year end.

The total value of card-based transactions increased by just over 21 percent to $361.25
million in June 2014, from $298.46 million in May, and the value of cheque transactions
increased to $13.65 million in June 2014 from $12.42 million a month earlier. This explains
why the local media are going through serious turbulence and disruption as readers
migrate from the newspapers and even TV and radio to digital media.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 126

3.3 Statistical Analysis of Findings from Outreach Sessions
The following represents the statistical analysis of primary data gathered through
questionnaires under the theme of Information Platforms and Content of Media Products.
The population space was drawn from all provinces. The analysis is based on 256
questionnaires.


Figure 1: Age Profile of Respondents

42.91
45.00
40.00
35.00 28.74
30.00
19.03
25.00
20.00
15.00 9.31
10.00
5.00
0.00
18-24 25-35 36-45 46-70

The age profile of the respondents as shown under Figure 1 above is dominated by the 46-
70 years category at 42.9%, followed by the 36-45 years group at 28.7%. The two categories
account for 71.6%, that is more than 2/3 of the population space, implying that these age
groups have a significant interest in the media, and hence any targeted media instruments
or products should have a fair understanding of the expectations of this market segment.

It can also reflect the high literacy rate in Zimbabwe that stretches the appetite for media
interest beyond the legally pensionable age of 64 years. Surprisingly, the youth, a major
game changer in the countrys social, economic and political dynamics, account for only
27% of the respondents covered by the survey.

The following chart showing distribution of respondents by gender, Figure 2 indicates
that males dominate media interest. Males account for 66% of the interviewees, while the
balance 34% is accounted for by females.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 127




3.3.1 Preference for Media Platforms
The survey also reveals that the most preferred media platform by the general public is
radio at 23%, followed by mobile phones (16%), and newspapers (13%), as depicted in
Figure 3. It may be inferred that the Zimbabwean society has embraced e-based media
platforms (due to the preference for mobile phones) in line with global developments.


Figure 3: Most Preferred Information
Platforms
non
more than 7%
three newspaper
22% 13%

all tv
6% 11%

mobile
16%

radio
25%

Twenty-two percent of respondents indicated that they prefer more than three of the
media platforms, mostly radio, television and newspapers.

When content is considered, as shown in Figure 4,development stories are ranked highly
at 45%, followed by education and development at 14%, while educational articles alone
accounts for 10%. These statistics confirm that education and development are important
when society samples media products, hence the need for media houses to deepen the
quality of programming and content in these areas to sustain their business models.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 128

Figure 4: Favourite Content for the General Public

development
and none
entertainment all 9%
0% 18%

education and
entertaiment
2%
development
and education
14%
development
45%
ententainment
2%
education
10%

Figure 5: Information Platforms prefered by Media


Practioners

2.33
13.95

4.65

55.81
23.26

whatsapp email internet word of mouth all




When the views of media practitioners are considered, focusing on responses from 43
journalists and content producers across the country, a total of 56% said they use all
media sources, that is, internet, email, WhatsApp, and word of mouth in generating their
news content, as shown in Figure 5. Based on qualitative review of the responses, word of
mouth is also significant at 23.3%, followed by email at about 1%.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 129

4 EMERGING ISSUES
________________________________

The summaries of some of the Focus Group discussions are relevant to note here as they
present emerging issues and recommendations. Some of the emerging issues are similar
to the Findings, and efforts have been made by the committee to separate the two,
although inevitable overlap remains as thefindings above lead to the emergence of issues
to consider. See also Recommendations in Section 6.

Summaries of Focus Group discussions in three areas of the country are included at the
end of this section so the reader can see some of the opinions expressed. These represent
only a small fraction of the outreach sessions held throughout the country, and are
presented as illustrative and indicative rather than representative or geographical.

4.1 Summary of Emerging Issues and Opinions
4.1.1 Many respondents believe that there is need for a complete overhaul of products
on local TV. Improved service will benefit all parties, as more people who access
the local stations will pay their fees, and increasing the number of viewers will
attract advertisers. This development can help local TV to be viable.

4.1.2 Some people said that the media have forgotten their obligation to viewers to
inform, educate and entertain, and now focus only on political concerns. Many
said that radio has been a relatively freer space where they can access the pirate
radio stations that give them a different opinion. Some do not mind ZBC at all but
would prefer a bit more international exposure and news.

4.1.3 There is a belief and hope that in line with its constitutional obligations, the State
should license community radio stations that can address local matters more
effectively than the national broadcaster.

4.1.4 In recent years, after the 99 percent local content requirement was scrapped, radio
and television have improved. People have appreciated that local content was
given preference but the fact that it was to the exclusion of all else became
problematic. Many people gave examples of neighbouring countries which have
state-owned television but also manage to air both local and international shows.

4.1.5 Of major concern to some viewers is the fact that ZBCs second television channel
is also not widely accessible. Those who have access to ZTV Channel Two
complained of poor picture and sound quality, while those who had to pay DSTV
subscriptions to access Channel One felt they should also be able to access
Channel Two, which they consider to have better programming.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 130

4.1.6 Many people complained that the content presented is boring and does not relate
to our current situation or the world today; that the timing of shows is ill-
prepared, and that inappropriate shows are screened at any time without warning.

4.1.7 Many journalists now push products with a biased editorial slant to the exclusion
of the truth, and there is grave distrust and general disinterest in the real matters
of the day. Newspapers such as H-Metro and B-Metro thrive because they provide
the kind of escape that people seek in far-fetched and hard-to-believe stories.

4.1.8 The content of newspapers, radios and TV is believed to be too heavily politicised.
Many people expressed the opinion that this is relatively ok when its an election
year but not all the time. They said it is necessary to focus on growth, and creating
a stronger and better Zimbabwe. There is a perspective that we have become
complacent about progress and growth, and that it shows in our media industry.

4.1.9 Many residents in outlying areas complain that they cannot access newspapers,
radio or national television, and say that infrastructure must be set up to enable
access. Some people can access ZBC only through the DSTV network and they
have resorted to accessing foreign stations and papers to get information about
their own country. What became apparent from the outreach was that, although
confidence in the local industry had waned, it has not completely faded.
Zimbabweans still believe they are capable of being more competitive regionally,
but only with a complete revamp of the industry.

4.1.10 Competition among players is expected to improve the standard of production,
particularly for ZBC, and give ZBC a reason to produce better quality
programming. Another important submission is that since most people cannot
afford satellite TV, they have no option but to watch local TV, which is not up to
standard. Many stakeholders confessed their unwillingness to pay radio and TV
licenses, which they believe are too high and unjustified. More so, most people do
not even access or use the services. Of those who own satellite TV, very few turn
to local TV.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 131

4.2 Samples of Data Collected in Focus Group Discussions throughout the Country

Province Venue Date
Mashonaland Central Mt Darwin June 11, 2014

Focus Group Discussion Number of Participants 20 Males 15 / Females 5

Emerging Issues
Broadcasting
v ZTV is not accessible without satellite connection.
v ZTV has poor content quality.
v ZBC content is heavily lacking when it comes to programmes that promote
cultural and family values.
v News is urban-centric, mainly Harare.
v There are 40 Wards in Mt Darwin and all ministries are represented yet there is little
or no coverage of the developmental projects that are going on in the district.
v ZTV news is boring and often lacks adequate visual clips to support the stories.
v ZTV should continue using sign language on major programmes.
v There is need to cater for the blind in both news and general information.
v Some people said they want TV and radio stations to increase religious content
given that Zimbabwe is a Christian country.
v Entertainment content should pay attention to type of costumes and fashion that
they promote as children are easily influenced and tend to imitate. They want
entertainment to mould and not destroy the young people.
v A public performance regulation should be introduced for costumes that cannot
be used by stage entertainers.
v Dancehall music is increasingly full of vulgar words and this needs urgent
regulating.
v They felt if the local entertainment industry promotes good values it is possible
that other nations that Zimbabwean artists copy from now might be compelled in
future to copy from Zimbabwe.
v They wanted to know who is supposed to control values in the media and
particularly entertainment content.
v TV should support good parenting.
v They want increased childrens content and programming.
v Programmes promoting worship should use books authored by local pastors. For
example, the people did not understand why Christ Embassy on Radio Zimbabwe
uses Nigerian Pastor Chriss books yet there are local pastors who have authored
books.
v TV and radio stations must broadcast 75% of local culture and traditions and
these programmes should be of good quality to compete with foreign content.
v Music lyrics should promote local cultural values and traditions. Music with vulgar
lyrics must be banned from airwaves.
v Backyard studios must be banned if their owners do not censor vulgar lyrics from
artists whose work they produce.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 132

Print Media
v The community receives only The Herald and Financial Gazette on an irregular
basis.
v Newspaper content is vastly different from paper to paper even when the papers
report on the same issues and this confuses readers.
v Papers do not focus on serving the people and nation but are concerned with
making profits even through the publication of content that was described as
rubbish.
v They encouraged newspapers to provide accurate and reliable information and
eliminate biased reporting.
v They also want newspapers from other regions such as Bulawayo to be accessible
in Mt Darwin so that they are informed about what is happening in other parts of
the country.
v They said H-Metro must seek permission before publishing peoples pictures. They
asked if this is legally permissible, to publish without permission?
v They felt that the media do not promote local values and norms because of lack
of clear-cut priorities on content.
v Editors were accused of using falsehoods to fill their papers and entertain their
readers in a quest to boost sales.
v They want the media to inform the public on diverse topics of public interest and
use local languages.
v Newspapers must be national and carry educational material of interest to young
and old.

Internet
v The only available Internet caf in the district is expensive at a dollar per hour.

Province Venue Date
Masvingo Civic Hall Masvingo April 17, 2014

Focus Group Discussion Number of participants 85

Emerging Issues
Broadcasting
v There is too much inappropriate material on local television, which is creating a
negative impression for young people.
v Radio and television are not always accessible and when signal is available the
sound and picture quality are poor.
v More thought should be put into both radio and television programming to cater
for all ages and various interest groups.
v Most of the coverage is about Harare and Bulawayo and rarely about Masvingo
unless it is negative or focused on politicians from the area.
v The media report negatively on people with disabilities and place more focus on
their disability than the matter under discussion.
v Radio and television license fees should be revised downwards.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 133

Print Media
v The media do not verify stories and this has fuelled conflicts among people with
different political backgrounds.
v Some sections of the media treat justice as a foreign concept thereby making it a
very expensive commodity.
v Journalists operating from Masvingo lack the necessary resources to conduct
their work.

Internet
v The internet is having a negative impact on young people in Masvingo.


Province Venue Date
Matabeleland South Umzingwane May 10, 2014

Focus Group Discussion



Emerging Issues
Broadcasting
v Radio and television reception should be strengthened to ensure everyone in
Umzingwane gets local radio and television transmission. People in some parts of
the area access foreign programmes.
v The media do not promote drama groups in Umzingwane.
v Drama groups on radio and television should be heterogeneous in terms of
regions that are covered.

Print Media
v The content in Kwayedza/Umtunywa is different from that of The Herald and
respondents said this should not be the case.
v The public media have a partisan stance on its reporting.
v There are no public libraries in Umzingwane but there are those under some
ministries and schools, which are not well-stocked.
v Public libraries should be introduced in the area.



Province Venue Date
Mash Central Shamva Country Club June 10, 2014

Focus Group Discussion Number of participants 30 Males 21 Females 9

Population Breakdown 121 000 district population

Emerging Issues
Broadcasting
v They said they can receive a clear Studio 7 signal, but can access ZBC TV only if
they subscribe to DSTV, although the picture and sound quality is still poor.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 134

v They get information through government ministries, on public transport and
through word of mouth.
v They want to know if Zimbabwe is up to standard with broadcasting technology.
v ZBC license fees must be revisited, lowered or scrapped. They feel they should be
exempted from paying ZBC license fees because they are already known to
have no access to ZBC signal.
v Government must deal with piracy more effectively.
v Producers of local content should improve packaging and distribution.
v Programmes should be culturally relevant so that Zimbabweans do not have to
watch Nigerian films all the time.
v Indecent media content and music must be censored.

Print Media
v They want to read factual and truthful news that is not polarised.
v There are no journalists resident in the district and when there is any news about
Shamva it is mostly negative. There should be resident journalists in all districts.
v Newspaper delivery is not consistent.
v They want more development information particularly on Shamva and about life
skills and other issues that affect them.
v They want the media to generate news on farming, mining, development, sport,
gender and youth programmes.
v They accused newspapers of running misleading news headlines.
v Journalists are failing to pursue news stories to their logical conclusion as seen in
the recent coverage of corruption stories.

Internet
v They feel inundated by the deluge of promotional text messages sent out by the
various mobile phone networks.
v Their few available landlines are unreliable making it difficult to disseminate
information on this platform.
v Mobile networks should introduce affordable data bundles that work across the
networks.
v Internet must be more accessible and less expensive.

Youth Clubs
v The government must develop a funding formula for rural youth clubs. There is
need for funding for youth clubs in the district so that they can disseminate
information through their creative and sporting activities.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 135

5 MEDIA PRODUCTS AND INFORMATION PLATFORMS USED
________________________________

The content of media products including newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and
social media is subject to the impact of the fast-changing technologies that deliver the
content. Over the next five to ten years, Africa is likely to be a changed continent where
people have a deeper sense of how they can change their lives with technology. The
information and media sector will change significantly as a result, and change could
become a constant condition, through adjusting and adapting both the medium and the
message to remain relevant. Some of the issues to be considered are cross-media or cross-
platforms, the rapid changing of tools, and impact on media policies. These will exist
alongside the traditional means of cultural communication, which need specific attention
to remain strong and resilient, and not be washed away in the deluge of technology
change and foreign content.

The committee sought to hear views on the various media products that exist at present
and to establish what information platforms are most used to access them. The table is
indicative.
Various Media Products and Information Platforms Used

PLATFORM USE BY WHOM / DESCRIPTION / CHALLENGES

Social Media Mass short messages - Mostly civil society and mobile networks
Telephone and Accessed mostly by those in formal
internet - employment
Blogging - Elite urban dwellers
Facebook - Spreading to rural Zimbabwe
Twitter - Urban-centric
WhatsApp - Most popular communication platform
Email/Internet - Mostly office mobile phone access
Instagram - Not in use in rural Zimbabwe and limited use in
urban areas

Content Availability, contentious issues such as nudity,


relevance, language, cell films
Cell philms mobile shot films user
Film as Media generated/ zvirikufaya
Product and Challenges facing Funding, equipment, technical expertise, local
Information local producers of content and globalisation
Platform content
Theatres, halls, Providing film material and viewing
exhibition centres, opportunities to the community, cultural
libraries villages, mobile cinemas

Music as Media Still considered the Family friendly spaces are lacking
Product and best form of Mainly in beer halls, nightclubs, festivals, galas,
Information entertainment and churches, etc. or political parties
Platform education tool

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 136

Challenges Sexually explicit lyrics (Gumukumu and
Seunononga), language, quality, content,
packaging of information that has relevance
to culture, family values, socio-economic

Content Availability, contentious issues, eg relevance,


language
Challenges facing Funding, equipment, technical expertise,
Theatre as local producers of directing, local content, script writing, acting
Media Product content skills, donor constructed themes
and Information Venues such as Providing film material and viewing
Platform theatres, halls, opportunities, cultural villages
exhibition centres,
libraries

Arts and crafts A communication tool linked to tourism


Libraries,
Challenges of Sustainability
Museums,
developing cultural
Cultural
villages
Artefacts as
National strategy Developing a national strategic link between
Communication
linkages arts/crafts and communicating their culture
Platforms
and place in Zimbabwean society

Formal and informal Word of mouth or media platforms


Need to observe Community and traditional leaders through
Government, protocol hierarchies and authorities. After protocol even
Political Parties, sensitive issues discussed
Churches and Schools Children relay messages to parents
Civil Society Police and Information officers unknown in rural areas
government depts
Ministry of health Posters effective communication tool

Ethnic-based arts and Located ad hoc but should be well planned,


crafts eg arts/crafts centre linked to Chimanimani
festival
Internet not widely Challenges are connectivity, availability,
used affordability
Lack of use of local Relevance to local communities, content
languages mainly urban or foreign
Dominant Poor road networks Poor distribution of newspapers
Thematic Poor ZBC signal while Studio 7 is widely
Concerns Accessibility accessible Unable to recharge mobile phones
Incessant power cuts to access online papers and send/receive
information
Print, radio, TV failing Weather, producer prices, livestock prices, etc.
to provide relevant Follow-up on stories in-depth
information License fees too high, not aligned to quality of
programmes, could introduce pre-paid juice
cards.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 137

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
6 RECOMMENDATIONS
INQUIRY
INFORMATION PLATFORMS AND
CONTENT OF MEDIA PRODUCTS

6.1 Information Platforms


6.1.1 Radio is the most popular information platform and must be made more
widely accessible, especially in rural communities.
6.1.2 Theatre is a low-cost platform that should be used in disseminating
relevant information to rural communities.
6.1.3 Information centres should be revived and used as focal points for
receiving and disseminating information, including electronic access.
6.1.4 Country clubs, community halls, information centres, adequately
equipped libraries, and cultural villages should be rehabilitated or built in the
communities.
6.1.5 Existing institutions and film media should be used to disseminate
information relevant to rural communities.
6.1.6 Internet access must be improved to cover the entire country, with
affordable access fees.
6.1.7 Mobile network coverage must be strengthened as more people now
access information through their mobile phones.

6.2 Access
6.2.1 Radio and television must be accessible countrywide.
6.2.2 Government must ensure that Multichoice adheres to the agreement
that when a DSTV subscriber is switched off for non-payment, the ZBC signal
should not be switched off too.
6.2.3 Road network to be improved to facilitate information distribution.
6.2.4 Rural schools must have working computers and power supply.
6.2.5 Cost should be reduced for both the print and online versions of
newspapers to make them affordable.

6.3 Regulation
6.3.1 Press freedom must be guaranteed through alignment of media laws with
the Constitution.
6.3.2 People should have a choice of various media platforms.
6.3.3 There is need to open up airwaves and licence community radio stations,
which should employ properly trained, ethical journalists.
. continued

5.7 MEDIA PRODUCTS

Content for Broadcasting


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 138
v ZBC radio and television must improve the quality of sound, images and content,
and serve all sectors of the community.
v ZBC must be recapitalised to make it competitive in terms of access, quality and
delivery of content that is relevant and appropriate.
INFORMATION &
6 RECOMMENDATIONS (continued)
MEDIA PANEL OF
INFORMATION PLATFORMS AND
CONTENT OF MEDIA PRODUCTS
INQUIRY

6.4 Media Products


Content for Broadcasting
6.4.1 ZBC radio and television must improve the quality of sound, images and
content, and serve all sectors of the community.
6.4.2 ZBC must be recapitalised to make it competitive in terms of access, quality
and delivery of content that is relevant and appropriate.
6.4.3 A public service broadcasting model should be used to reposition ZBC, not
a state-run model, including a three-tier system of public, commercial and
community broadcasting.
6.4.4 ZBC TV must generate and purchase content now in preparation for
digitisation in mid-2015, which can offer many channels including news, movies,
history, documentaries, lifestyle and sports.
6.4.5 Existing institutions such as the Film School and Production Services must be
strengthened in the context of modern technology and used to create content
to meet the digitisation deadline for mid-2015 and beyond, or the country will be
flooded with foreign content.

6.5 Media Products


Content for Print Media
6.5.1 Rural information officers with relevant skills should be recruited to gather
and disseminate information for communities and supply content to media.
6.5.2 Parliamentary debates should be broadcast live on radio and TV.
6.5.3 Radio education programmes for primary school must be revived.
6.5.4 Languages and cultures of various ethnic groups reflected in the
Constitution must have more visibility and programming in the public sphere.
6.5.5 Family newspapers must publish decent content as some content is
lacking in respect for family values.
6.5.6 Media must be a tool for nation building and not destruction.

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 139

6 APPENDIX
_____________

6.1 REGIONAL STUDY VISITS

6.1.1 United Republic of TANZANIA


Country Venue Date
Tanzania Media Council of Tanzania August 18, 2014

Interview John Murray Publications, Research & Documentation Manager, TMZ



Emerging Issues
v A model of self-regulation for the media industry by all media owners and their
employees.
v Flooding of poor content across all platforms during the early years of media
reform and opening of the media sector motivated the formation of Media
Council of Tanzania (TMZ).
v Overhaul of 40 media laws that do not support the open media environment.

Situation
Up to 1995, most of the means of generation and production of media content were
owned by the government and the ruling party through the ownership of two
newspapers and one radio station. The party also owned one newspaper. There was
no television in the country up to 1994 leading to zero production of local TV and film
content. After 1994, the media landscape opened up at a fast pace driven mainly by
private players, thus creating a serious skills gap for well-trained human resources to
create quality local content. The media sector faced a serious lack of production
capacity.

Today, Tanzania has many media platforms, with 90 radio stations;15 TV stations; 40
newspapers; and 5 mobile networks, all providing access to internet platforms on
mobile phones. Content is largely in the national language of Swahili with only three
newspapers writing in English out of all the 40 newspapers. Radio stations and TV
stations also produce content mainly in the national language. The industry faces a
shortage of soft resources (e.g. books) and hard resources (e.g. cameras) to develop
and train media content producers.

The industry tends to prefer externally produced content as it is expensive to produce


local content. There is no special fund to support the production of in-house and
independent content, with 80 percent of print media content generated by
correspondents. The public does not pay viewer licenses.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 140

Country Venue Date
Tanzania Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports August 19, 2014

Interview Assah Andrew Mwambene Director of Tanzania Information Services

Emerging Issues
v Digital migration from analogue to digital has been implemented.
v Funding model for supporting information access to the rural population.

Situation
Despite the vibrant broadcasting industry in the country, the film and independent
production industry has failed to take off and, in fact, has gotten worse than before
the media reform. A Bill is in the drawing board to support capacity-building in
production and training for the media industry in Tanzania.

Government has realized that there is revenue to be made in the film and TV
production industry, and in July 2013 passed a Bill that addresses piracy as a starting
point to matters affecting the film industry. A few days monitoring of the top three
leading TV stations in the country showed a lack of focus in programming of local film
and TV drama across the channels.

In terms of promoting access to information to the population, the government set up


a funding model called Universal Communications Services Access Fund, whose
mandate is to fund the establishment of radio and TV stations by business people who
want to set up in rural communities. It does not support city-based broadcasting
initiatives. This fund raises revenue from the operational radio/TV channels only.

The Information Ministry manages the content while the Ministry of Communications
manages the technical aspects of the nations broadcasting services. It took time and
error for the government to find a model of migrating from analogue to digital
platforms but they eventually got it right by creating a partnership company between
government, the private players and religious-owned media houses. To date 70
percent of the urban areas of the country have been covered.


6.1.2 Republic of KENYA
Country Venue Date
Kenya Media Council of Kenya August 19, 2014

Situation
Council started as a regulatory body and has jurisdiction over 365 licensed radio
stations, with 126 stations active. The airwaves were opened up to other players in
2002, without regulatory mechanism. Amendment Act of 2013 is being debated to put
in place broadcast authority. There are 19 TV stations, 8 of which cover the whole
country. There are 2 online TV stations. There are 4 pay-for-view companies. TV license
fees were scrapped in 2000.The government earns US$9million revenue from
broadcasting sector. Some 60% of the revenue is from radio which has the widest
reach. Media Council of Kenya gets funding directly from government. There are also
subscriptions from media houses and news agencies.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 141

Accreditation of journalists is US$20 per annum. Before accreditation is renewed
journalists have to prove they have undergone a refresher course. There are 3 200
accredited journalists. Newspapers have an ombudsman for complaints. Veteran
journalists participate in well-structured refresher courses. Has a complaints council
were 7 people sit. It is chaired by a judge of the high court. It sits two days a week. In
2013 it handled 27 cases (co-regulation model). There is one media code of conduct
which is an annex to the Media Act. There is a safety and security code on sexual
harassment which is signed by all editors. Disability has not been adequately
addressed in terms of journalism recruitment and training .

The Council runs annual journalism awards on the 4th of May which coincides with
World Press Freedom Day. World Press Freedom day brings together journalists from
throughout the region and is networking platform. Council also has role of defending
media freedom and also takes government to court.

Explicit Content
People have complained about the evening talk shows. This is difficult to regulate
because there is no broadcasting code. TV adheres to watershed hours.

Community Radio Stations


Most of these are donor-funded like churches and some are owned by local
authorities and some government departments.

Kenya Broadcasting Corporation


Viewership has gone down and cannot compete with commercial stations. Facing
financial and technological problems. Facing manpower challenges and high
turnover of talent. Broadcasts in 17 languages (overall) Kenya have 42 languages.
Kenyans dissatisfied with insufficient cultural and developmental programmes.
Commercial stations are not covering these areas. KBC is in charge of digital migration
signet is competing with a Chinese company, the Pan African group. The issue is in
court and locals feel the responsive should have been given to Kenyans. Digitisation
should have been completed on 15 June 2014.

6.1.3 Republic of ZAMBIA


Country Venue
Zambia Zambia Institute of Mass Communication Educational Trust (ZAMCO)

Interview Oliver Kanene Executive Director and Board Member of the Daily Mail

Situation
The Daily Mail (DM) now headlines more of human interest stories. Over a two-year
period its production rose from 5,000 to 8,000 copies a day. During the 2011 elections,
the paper took a people-centred focus and is now selling 19,000-22,000 copies. This is
the only Zambian paper registered with the Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) to
legitimise its circulation and print run statistics. Many journalists are not on the payroll
but work on contract. The Zambian newspaper market is quite small and some
newspapers such as the Times of Zambia are almost closing down. They have five
months arrears and are not paying salaries. The Zambian economy is not strong
enough to sustain many newspapers.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 142

Recommendations
v Journalism training must emphasise entrepreneurship. A person with journalism
training can be a freelancer or even start a magazine. He gave the example
that Zambia is now more like a massive construction site because of numerous
construction projects. One enterprising journalist has since launched a
magazine entitled The Contractor in response to the changing times.
v Journalists must also be trained to understand that they can be business
people. At the Daily Mail, a person with a strong business background was
appointed as Managing Director, and tasked to make profits.

Country Venue Date


Zambia Daily Mail Boardroom August 18, 2014
Interview Nebat Mbewe Executive Director and Board Member of the Daily Mail

Situation
The DM started in the 1950s when it was established by Alexander Scotts Central
African Agencies. Scott was the father to Guy Scott, the current Vice President of
Zambia (now acting President). In 1964, government took over the weekly paper and
renamed it initially as Zambia Mail. The DM competes with other newspapers including
the Times of Zambia, The Post and The Nation.

The advent of community radio has also put pressure on newspapers as the print
media now have challenges to break news.

Mbewe said the Daily Mail is second to The Post on the market. However, the DM
faces some challenges in terms of distributing its papers to various parts of the country
on the same day. Distribution is usually by road, and in some cases by air.

The Daily Mail has signed an MOU with the Zambia Postal Services so that they can use
ICTs at the ZPS premises where people can access and read the newspaper online. In
rural areas, the Zambia Post Offices are accessible but print newspapers are not
distributed on time. Weekend figures are low both for circulation and advertisement.
The preferred advertisement and content ratio is 60-40. This is often achieved except
for weekends. When advertisements are many, the DM increases the number of
pages. Major source of advertising revenue are Telecommunications companies,
although government, parastatals and NGOs are significant.

Press Freedom
There is a lot of press freedom in Zambia, according to Mbewe, although publicly
owned media are sometimes hesitant to write freely about what they want.

The Daily Mail is stated-owned but the paper is also driven by a commercial
imperative since the Board was asked to run the paper as a business venture and to
be self-sufficient in terms of payment of salaries.DM is diversifying and has a
commercial printing press for materials such as calendars, etc.

Distributing the newspaper to the rural areas as a part of the social responsibility policy
is generally expensive. However, Government compels DM to distribute to rural areas,
and support for doing so is rendered to the DM in the form of vehicles.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 143

Government has expressed complaints about what the DM sometimes published but
the editorial management is not sure whether the complaints are heard by the
government or they are from individuals who only hold senior positions in government.
This is because the editorial takes directives from its Board or from the Ministry on such
complaints.

The Zambian press are grappling with the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI). Mbewe
does not see FOI as a direct media law but something to enable the general Zambian
population to access information. Zimbabwes legal and constitutional instruments
pertaining to access to information were praised by Mbewe. There has been an
opening of freedom of the press space under the current PF regime.

Strategies for revenue streams


Catch them young strategy youths at schools are encouraged to contribute
articles to The Daily Mail with companies sponsoring youth columns. There is need for
as many sponsored columns at DM as possible although there is recognition that not
everyone is inclined to read stories that are not journalistic per se, and that is why
conventional journalism is maintained regardless of the commercialisation.

Regional stories are also promoted because people want to read about is happening
in various parts of the country. To ensure regional content, offices have been
established in the countryside in areas such as Kitwe, Kabwe, Choma and Livingstone,
and there are correspondents based in those areas to provide news coverage.

The e-paper is another stream of revenue which targets mainly Zambians in the
diaspora. Advertisers do influence content although Mbewe observes that there has
not been anything adverse from their advertisers that would stop the paper from
publishing particular stories. Daily Mail is developing a gender policy, and there is a
deliberate policy to employ female reporters who can rise within the ranks.

Circulation
Many Zambian newspapers make unfounded claims about circulation figures often
claiming to be the best and biggest selling. Registration with ABC is a way of
legitimising figures and verification of claims.

The highest circulation for the Daily Mail is 70,000 copies per day. Circulation figures
are dropping, however, due to economic hardships and new media platforms.
Pagination as a broadsheet has been 32 pages but on special occasions such as the
50th independence anniversary of the Daily Mail might carry 60 pages. The cover price
is 3Kr (about 50c).

Content
Human interest stories are highly regarded. There is a thin line between being
sensational and being truthful about what happened, Mbewe says. The newspaper
writes sensitively about people living with HIV and AIDS because they also have
employees who have come out into the open within the newsroom and this compels
writing in a way that is not hurtful to others. The paper uses appropriate language for
people with disabilities. Most stories are about men. Women are adversely reported,
especially when raped or abused.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 144

6.2 RESOURCE MATERIALS

Batist, D. (2010). SW Radio Africa and the challenges of operating a Zimbabwean exile radio
station in London, Journal of African Media Studies, 2(2): 155-171.

McLuhan, E. and Zingrone, F. (ed.) (1995). The Essential McLuhan, New York: Basic Books.

Chuma, Wallace, (2013). The State of Journalism Ethics in Zimbabwe, Harare: VMCZ.

Chuma, W & Moyo, D (eds) (2010). Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa: Critical Reflections on
Media Reforms in the Global Age, Pretoria: Unisa Press.

Jensen, B. & Rosengren, K (1990). Five traditions in search of the audience, European Journal of
Communication 5(2): 207-238.

Mano, W. (2005). Editorial, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, Special Issue
November 2005: 1-7.

Mhiripiri, N.A. (2011). Zimbabwe community radio initiatives: promoting alternative media in a
restrictive legislative environment, Radio Journal: International Studies in Broadcasting and Audio
Media, 9(2,1): 107-126.

Mhiripiri, N.A. and Mutsvairo, B. (2013). Social Media, New ICTs and the Challenges Facing the
Zimbabwe Democratic Process, in New Media Influence on Social and Political Change in Africa, co-
edited by Anthony A. Olorunnisola and Aziz Douai, Hershey PA: IGI Global, pp402-422.

Moyo, D. (2005). The independent press and the fight for democracy in Zimbabwe; a critical
analysis of the banned Daily News, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, Special Issue
November 2005: 109-128.

Moyo, L. (2010). The dearth of public debate: Policy, polarities and positioned reporting in
Zimbabwes news media in W. Chuma & D. Moyo (eds) Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa:
Critical Reflections on Media Reforms in the Global Age, Pretoria: Unisa Press.

Padovani, C. and Calabrese, A. (2014). Communication Rights and Social Justice: historical accounts of
transnational mobilization, London: Palgrave.

Ranger, T. (2005),The rise of patriotic journalism in Zimbabwe and its possible implications,
Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture, Special Issue November 2005: 8-18.

Shamu, W. (2011). Community radio to benefit rural areas, The Sunday Mail, 1-7 May, p9.

Windrich, E (2010). Broadcasting in Zimbabwe: An historical perspective, in W. Chuma & D.Moyo,


D (eds) (2010) Media Policy in a Changing Southern Africa: Critical Reflections on Media Reforms in the
Global Age, Pretoria: Unisa Press.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 145

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

CHAPTER 3

POLARISATION, PERCEPTION AND INTERFERENCE

Report of the Thematic Committee on

Polarisation, Perception and Interference

PANELISTS

Vincent Kahiya, Committee Chairperson

Constantine Chimakure

Stanley Gama

Gift Mambipiri

Programme Officer

Sibusisiwe Dube

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 146


CONTENTS

Years of adversarial and polarised


CHAPTER 3
relationships have levied a
horrendous toll on professional and
ethical standards. The desire for
1. Introduction
entrapment has been mutual on the
2. Polarisation part of information holders and
information seekers.
3. Interference
The effect has been one of mutual
4. Perceptions ruin for those in authority and those
in the publishing industry, and a
5. Issues Emerging from the Inquiry
real disaster for citizens who should
6. Recommendations be well served by both.

7. Appendix The sectors values crisis has to be


addressed in a comprehensive way
Speech by Minister of Media, Information that seeks integrity and
and Broadcasting Services, Hon. Prof. professionalism in the sector.
Jonathan Moyo, at NUST, December
2013 ...From Terms of Reference for An
Official Inquiry into the State of the
Questionnaires used for Journalists, Information and Media Industry in
Editors, and Political Parties Zimbabwe

Information & Media Panel of Inquiry IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 147

1 INTRODUCTION
_______________

This was one of the most topical thematic areas during the outreach programme. A total of
42 outreach meetings were conducted in all the 10 administrative provinces to solicit the
views of members of the public, journalists, civil society organisations and politicians on
the topical issues of polarisation, perception and interference in the media. The oral
discussions during the outreach meetings were combined with the distribution of
questionnaires to participants and members of the public. In addition, some stakeholders
submitted written reports to the committee. This chapter is therefore a result of the
responses to questionnaires, the outreach report, and stakeholder submissions.

1.1 Background and Context
The Zimbabwean society has been polarised since the colonial era, although this started to
improve after Independence in 1980. The situation worsened again since the late 1990s,
particularly after 2000, as various interest groups took divergent positions on the causes
and effects of the 1997 crash of the Zimbabwe dollar, and the land reform programme that
featured the compulsory acquisition of land from white commercial farmers for
redistribution to the black majority. These two events strengthened opposition politics and
saw the mushrooming of several political parties. These included the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) made up of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU),
civic groups, commercial farmers and academics, which later split into the MDC and MDC-
T, and other smaller parties.

Reflecting the prevailing situation in the country, the media took different sides in the
coverage of a wide range of issues, but especially on politics, governance, and the economy.
The media have, therefore, since the late 1990s mirrored the generally polarised
environment in the Zimbabwean society. This saw the public media supporting the
government and ruling political party sentiments, while the private media generally gave
an opposing perspective in supporting views dissenting from government. These
perceptions spilled from the editorial and opinion pages onto the news and features pages,
to the selection of international news and columnists, and into entertainment and sports
coverage. The terms public and private media reinforce the notion of a polarised media
landscape in Zimbabwe, although professional ethics would require all to pursue a
balanced perspective, regardless of ownership.

The polarisation has not been limited to the political realm, as the inquiry found, but also
the coverage of business and sports. An illustration was given during one of the outreach
meetings in Lupane, Matabeleland North province that The Chronicle based in Bulawayo
tends to report favourably about Highlanders Football Club while The Herald, based in
Harare, does the same with Dynamos Football Club. However, this is not uncommon for
sports coverage in newspapers throughout the world, with local papers in Liverpool or
Manchester City in UK supporting the home team.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 148


The following table shows the mainstream newspapers, radio and television stations as
classified under the public and private media, as well as electronic and print categories.

Mainstream Media Registered in Zimbabwe

Public Media Medium Private Media Medium


The Herald Print daily Daily News Print daily
Chronicle Print daily Newsday Print daily
Sunday Mail Print weekly The Zimbabwe Mail Print daily
Sunday News Print weekly Zimbabwe Independent Print weekly
Manica Post Print weekly The Standard Print weekly
H-Metro Print daily Daily News on Sunday Print weekly
B-Metro Print daily Southern Eye Print Daily
Star FM Electronic The Patriot Print weekly
ZTV Electronic ZiFM Electronic
Radio Zimbabwe Electronic
Power FM Electronic
National FM Electronic
Spot FM Electronic
New Ziana Print daily / electronic

In addition to these sectors, a number of newspapers and radio stations have been
publishing or broadcasting from outside the country, including The Zimbabwean, a print
weekly; another weekly, The Sunday Times (Zimbabwe edition); the Voice of Americas
Studio 7, as well as Short Wave Radio Africa (SWRA), now defunct, and Radio Voice of the
People, mainly funded by governments in Europe.

In the following sections, this chapter will try to unpack the causes and effects of
polarisation, perceptions and interference in the information and media industry in
Zimbabwe as well as how these have influenced the way in which the public views the
media. The chapter will seek to offer suggestions on how to improve the situation in the
information and media industry with regard to polarisation, perceptions and interference.



2 POLARISATION

_____________

2.1 Background and Context
The rift between public and privately-owned media has been a trait of the media landscape
dating back to the colonial era when the newspapers and broadcasting services were
divided into media for whites and for blacks, and the latter were often closed down. The
Rhodesia Herald was set up for the purpose of circulating news and information among the

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 149

white minority in the colonial period, and mostly supported their predominant political
party, the Rhodesian Front (RF). The paper was used to attack the liberation movement and
criticise white liberals. The Rhodesian regime used the media to propagate its agenda while
the few media outlets that were in the hands of the nationalists would do the same by
promoting the ideals and values of democracy, then called majority rule, but the latter
were soon banned.

At independence when government bought Argus Press and rebranded it Zimpapers, we
removed a system that supported RF and replaced it with one which rooted for post-
liberation movements, according to Prof. B.K. Sibanda. The hand of the state remained.

This method of media ideology in which the media are polarised to the same degree as
the political system is polarised by allowing political definitions to define the facts and
focus of what is covered or not covered in the mainstream media, is revealed by any
comparative study of the print media in the United Kingdom. Therefore, it can be seen that
the media in Zimbabwe is modelled largely on an inherently British media system, with
several newspapers of competing political perspectives and a national broadcaster that
operates several radio and television stations.

This has been perpetuated by the existence of hegemonic battles between, first, the settlers
and the natives; and then their conflict with the liberation movement; and more recently,
Zanu-PF and MDC political formations, and the Zanu-PF government and Western
countries. The last two battles, being the most recent, are the most significant to this study
of polarisation in the Zimbabwean media from the turn of the new millennium to date.

To put Zimbabwes post-2000 polarisation into context, Patrick Bond and Masimba
Manyanya note that the MDCs neoliberal policy agenda made it a logical political
sanctuary for white capital. Further, the opposition partys promise of post-nationalist
politics, good governance and rule of law (including the protection of private property)
endeared it to the white business and farming communities reeling under the spectre of
farm occupations and perceptions of wholesale seizure and redistribution of white-owned
businesses by the State1. This was accompanied by the emergence of a viable political
opposition, an active and well-funded civil society, and a critical private press.

The ensuing political struggles played out in the local media are evident in the manner in
which pertinent issues have been reported on during the past 14 years. Government
policies and programmes such as the Land Reform Programme, Operation Murambatsvina,
the Look East policy, and the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic
Transformation (ZimAsset) received negative reviews from the private media.


1Bond, P., & Manyanya, M. (2003). Zimbabwes plunge: Exhausted nationalism, neoliberalism and the search for
social justice. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 150

2.2 Definition of Polarisation
To polarise is to be separated into two very different groups, opinions or situations that
are opposed to each other, according to any English dictionary, or to cause this to happen.
It is, therefore, the grouping of opinions around two opposing positions.
In our case, the polarisation existing in our media is an offshoot of the polarisation in our
politics(We) have the divergence of political attitudes to ideological extremes; principally
between Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change. (Financial Gazette Editor,
Hama Saburi)

Polarisation is, therefore, the process that causes people to take sides, or to be identified by
their different perspectives. This can also cause people on different sides to take
increasingly rigid positions becoming more and more opposed to each other and more
clearly defined as "different" from the other (hence moving towards the "poles" or
becoming "polar opposites), although this is not necessarily the case by definition.
Scholars tend to concur that polarisation in Zimbabwes media has been influenced mainly
by the countrys prevailing political environment at the time.

Media are, by their nature, polarised, as their intention is to provide access to information
from different perspectives, and give the readers a choice of information sources and
opinions. If a degree of professional ethics is incorporated into the media coverage, then
this polarisation is channelled in the same manner that Parliament channels the polarisation
of political debate, giving a platform for different opinions and interests.

Media are therefore a complex institution, informed in their nature by similar complexities
whether national or international media. These complexities can be applied beyond the
consideration of local newspapers to the internet and new media, however for the purpose
of this chapter, the focus has been directed mainly to national print and broadcasting.

2.3 Dynamics of Polarisation in the Zimbabwean Media since 1999
Scholars tend to concur that polarisation in Zimbabwes media has been influenced chiefly
by the countrys prevailing political environment. This has influenced the media, which, for
strategic reasons, has aligned with the prominent political parties whose supporters became
their readership. This notion was acknowledged by Wallace Chuma2 who contended that,
The press both shaped and was shaped by the shifting contestation(s) within and between
different centres of power during the second and part of the third decade of
independence.

The prevailing political environment also saw local politicians and interested foreign
parties vying for a stake in the media as they offered influence and support to their
favoured candidates that were manifest through the media. The media have therefore
remained strategic political tools, and more so during election periods as perceptions are


2 http://www.academia.edu/6677275/Zimbabwe_The_media_market_failure_and_political_turbulence

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 151

built and competing characters are attacked. It is due to this influence that voices of
opposition leaders are mostly quoted in negative reports in the public media while the
same can be said for government officials in the private press. As a result, most local media
outlets have resorted to publishing half-truths in their portrayal of the countrys political
economy, with the same story framed differently to suit partisan interests.

Even though journalists are influenced by editorial policies in the manner in which they
report on certain issues, they are also responsible for facilitating the polarisation that exists
in Zimbabwes media as they play an active role in shaping the countrys political reality.
Chuma observes that three models of journalism were applied in his framing of the 2000
election, that is, patriotic, oppositional and independent nationalist. He contends
that the press became one of the most visible sites of struggles for control of the State3.
Therefore, during times of intense political contestations, the media become a political
boxing ring where ideological battles are fought with journalists as protagonists.

Writing a month ahead of the 2000 elections, then Herald editor Bornwell Chakaodza
admitted that his newspaper had exercised its democratic right and press freedom and
took the political decision to support the majority shareholder in Zimbabwe Newspapers
the government of Zimbabwe, in its election campaign (TheHerald, May 4, 2000)4. This
notion is also present in observations by a local media watchdog, the Media Monitoring
Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ), which noted in its Hate Speech Reports (May-September 2013)
that in the run-up to, during and after the 2013 general elections, the media were
responsible for fanning political divisions in the country through columnists and their
editorial comments. Columnists and journalists from the public media accounted for 82
reports containing divisive and inflammatory language, while the private press carried 52
reports with this type of language5.

The polarisation that exists in the local media is also rooted in the enforcement of media
laws in the country. While laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA), Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), and
the Interception of Communications Act (ICA) provide a legal framework, there have been
allegations of partial application of these statutes. For example, AIPPA and the Constitution
give journalists the privilege to access public information held by state bodies but in
practice journalists from the public media have been accorded more cooperation by public
authorities.

The media landscape in Zimbabwe has not been a level playing field as journalists from the
private press have over the years operated under relatively tougher conditions. Some
clauses in the above-mentioned media laws, including the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act and the Official Secrets Act, have limited media freedom. Between 2012 and

3Ibid 2
4http://www.academia.edu/6677105/Mediating_the_2000_elections_in_Zimbabwe_Competing_journalisms_in_a_
society_at_the_crossroads
5http://www.mmpz.org/media-analysis/hate-language-1

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 152

2014, a total of 33 cases of harassment, threats, arbitrary arrests and assaults against media
personnel were recorded, and the majority of these media personnel belonged to the
private media. Private media houses have also been targeted with lawsuits by prominent
public figures accusing them of defamation.

Political and economic interests in the media that do not acknowledge the medias role as a
fourth arm of governance, rather view it as a tool to perpetuate political dominance. This
applies to the ownership and structure of both the public and private media.

2.4 Causes and Effects of Polarisation
Various reasons were given during the outreach meetings for the media polarisation, and
common threads established. Participants felt that media polarisation in Zimbabwe has
been caused by and is mainly driven by political influence on media content; the business
interests of the owners of media houses; editorial policies, including different sourcing
patterns; and the bribing of journalists to give positive coverage to some politicians or
businesspersons, or entertainers or sports personalities, while lambasting others.

Other participants at outreach meetings, such as the one at Lupane, felt that the
government and public media, in particular, initiated the lopsided and angled coverage of
issues and the rest of the media followed.

While media polarisation is a factor of the industry in most parts of the world, and in the
UK for example, different newspapers support different political parties, this is considered
usual practice for opinion pages while varying degrees of factual coverage inform the news
pages. Media polarisation, therefore, can be soft or hard, or a range of shades in between. In
that sense, media everywhere are by nature polarised to some degree, giving the readers an
opportunity to choose their favourites.

Soft polarisation would cover the usual political debates and positioning, while a Silveira
House report (2012)6 states that hard media polarisation can fan hate speech, violence, and
other disharmonies in a country. This report suggests that the local media have been stuck
in a polarisation trap for the past 15 years, in which political and commercial interests
have dominated national interest and the media (as they do in other countries); while
others note the external pressures and decline in the economy leading to reduced resources
that have also fanned this division as media outlets competed for survival through political
and commercial space, advertisers, and external supporters. Economic interests and the
budget bottom line can facilitate ever wilder headlines and billboards to sell newspapers, a
feature that remains prominent across the media spectrum in Zimbabwe.

Responsible and ethical journalism fades as the media openly supports some political
persuasions on news pages, without identifying this clearly as opinion. Several reports and


6See Silveira House research paper among the full submissions in the Annex to this report.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 153

IMPI respondents on the state of the media in Zimbabwe have noted that sections of the
media have become commissariats of different political parties. The inquiry found that it
has become difficult in the Zimbabwean context to report in a fair, balanced and accurate
manner given such hard-nosed political polarisation, and many journalists who have
grown up in this polarised environment do not see a situation in which they could choose
between jobs across the media spectrum.

Legislation related to media and information has contributed to polarisation in the media.
Laws such as the AIPPA and the Criminal Codification and Reform Act, have fuelled media
polarisation, as well as some aspects of the BSA. This is despite the backdrop that the new
Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees freedoms that are violated in the above laws.

Sections 61 and 62 of the Constitution accord the media and ordinary citizens the right of
access to information and freedom of expression, as follows:

v Every Zimbabwean citizen or permanent resident, including juristic persons and the
Zimbabwean media, has the right of access to any information held by the State or by any
institutions or agency of government at every level, in so far as the information is required in
the interests of public accountability.

v Broadcasting and other electronic media of communication have freedom of
establishment, subject only to State licensing procedures that

are necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal distribution; and

are independent of control by government or by political or commercial interests.

v All State-owned media of communication must
be free to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts or other
communications;
be impartial; and,
afford fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent and dissenting opinions.


2.5 Submissions from Stakeholders
In this section, the report summarises the key points of some of the submissions by media
houses and media civil society organisations on the subject of polarisation, and these are
included in full in the Annex to this report containing Submissions and Presentations by
Stakeholders and Interest Groups.

2.5.1 Community Newspapers Association of Zimbabwe
In a submission to the IMPI panel, the Community Newspapers Association of Zimbabwe
said polarisation has transformed Zimbabwes newsrooms into barracks that are
moulding half-baked political activists and analysts. Their submission noted that the
polarisation of the media, mainly along political lines, has over the years massacred the
Fourth Estate through interference in its business operations and as a source of information
dissemination.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 154


According to the association, polarisation has damaged the medias credibility as a
trustworthy source of information as different newscasts sourced from the same venue or
event can be so conflicting to an extent that the public itself becomes confused.

Most newsrooms no longer possess an independent watchdog eye as everything today is
being made to be seen through rosy speculations of politicians who desire to safeguard
their political will and lifespan via the media and, by so doing, the media becomes crucial
in determining popular polarisation.
Popular polarisation takes place when public opinion is divided over particular political
issues and policies as a result of attempts by TV stations, newspapers or any other form of
media to appeal to the public by broadcasting content influenced by particular political
ideologies or interests.

Political polarisation carries with it intimidation that has forced publishers /newspaper
owners to interfere or become editors themselves as a way of protecting themselves and the
business. In this case Editors are told what to write and not to, and this cascades down to
compromise the journalists who gather news that are non-partisan. Editors / journalists end
up glorifying and defending political parties or politicians and or even policies that
subjugate the rights of the ordinary men on the streets or the nation as a whole.

Draconian media laws such as AIPPA and POSA have effectively forced journalists into
self-censorship which in turn affects the way in which news are published. As a result the
business community has taken advantage of the circus in the media to determine the
editorial content. Advertisers by default have grown muscles to an extent that, even if they
operate outside the confines of the law of Zimbabwe, know very well that they can easily
get away with the crime because the media opts out of exposing them for fear of losing
business. And as such, instead of correcting the abnormal, we end up enhancing corruption
and fraud, not by desire, but by default to the need to survive in an environment that is for
us a cul de sac.

Community papers are calling therefore for the re-alignment of media laws to the new
Constitution in order to wean ourselves from AIPPA and POSA. We are calling for the
establishment of self-regulatory boards that are staffed by journalists. This we advocate
basing on the reservations we have upon the Zimbabwe Media Commission. We see no
reason in the demand for US$500 application fee and US$2,000 as registration fees. Why
should the media be subjected to extremes yet universities and colleges are churning out
graduates expected to be employed by institutions now under siege by policy makers who
continue to preach economic development.

2.5.3 Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said in its submission that the
polarisation of newsrooms in Zimbabwe has resulted in the arrested development of the

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 155

media environment. It noted that as a result of the propaganda war, primarily waged by
the state media, Zimbabwes media community has inherited a highly intolerant and
polarised environment that does nothing to contribute to Zimbabwes socio-economic and
political development.

This is where Zimbabwes media community stands today. But with the threat of political
contest no longer a realistic proposition (for the time being), there is a chance to rebuild
using the new Constitution as the backbone to develop a strong, vibrant and professional
media community that will lead the way towards a more democratic and informed
society.

It is clear from the background described above that Zimbabwes media community has
had little chance to develop in any direction, having inherited problems relating to training,
professionalism, the economy, growth, the legal environment, and a culture of intolerance.

It is little wonder that in many of the new newspapers (not to mention the state media) the
quality of their content is often seriously unprofessional and a reflection of the intolerance
and vindictiveness that for years pervaded the state media outlets that set these appalling
standards. Many of the young journalists working on these new media outlets would have
only had the state medias performance as a measure for their own behaviour. It is this that
has been largely responsible for the polarisation for which the media are accused of
generating. Of course, it can be said the polarised political environment was the genesis of
this vice, but it needed the media to give it the voice and venom that has traumatised
Zimbabwean society.

MMPZ makes the following recommendation.

Professional training will be an essential element in developing a professional journalist


community that will play a critical role in neutralising the poisonous culture of intolerance
and abuse that has characterised the media environment in the last decade. While this is
urgent, it must be understood that this will be a process not a revolution in the
development and promotion of professional journalistic practice. Today there are precious
few if any journalists training institutions, since nearly all tertiary learning centres focus
on media and community studies at university level, producing academics rather than
journalists.

MMPZ observed that donor-funded journalism training is irregular and unfocussed and is
of little value without the development of a proper journalism practice curriculum, a
thorough mapping of needs and the collaboration of media institutions themselves. Only
the National University of Science and Technology is attempting to combine journalism
with its academic media studies programme. Structured courses need to be developed and
consistently implemented with regular follow-ups and measures that ensure
implementation and adherence.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 156

2.5.4 Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF)
The Zimbabwe National Forum (ZINEF) says the media landscape in Zimbabwe has been
polarised between the public and private media, mainly as a result of political differences
between the various media organisations. ZINEF says the divisions have at times resulted
in slanging matches between media houses, not on the basis of healthy competition but
more on the basis of political bias.

Addressing the inadequacy of media professionalism and ethical practices, the ZINEF
submission referred to a recent study commissioned by the Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe (VMCZ)7 that noted the dearth of ethics and professionalism in the media,
saying this has been exacerbated by the political environment, poor working conditions of
journalists, and an under-performing national economy.
As a solution, ZINEF called for the establishment of common ground among media houses
in terms of professionalism and ethics; editorial independence of media houses; and a
shared understanding and interpretation of the section of the new Constitution dealing
with the founding values and principles of the Republic through establishing a democratic
interpretation of the National Interest, in tandem with Sections 61, 62 and 248 of the
Constitution of Zimbabwe.

ZINEF was founded in 1999 by editors from the privately owned media as an association of
editors who subscribe to press freedom and freedom of expression, creating a space to
enable them to speak with one voice in challenging press laws, victimisation from any
entities, arrests and other forms of pressure that threaten the viability of their profession
and media houses. Some members say that their association would have a stronger voice if
it represented editors across the media spectrum.

2.5.5 Vincent Kahiya, Editor-in-Chief of Zimbabwe Independent
There is a direct relationship between polarisation and perception.... We have, as media
practitioners, pandered to the whims of politicians who have for a long time sought to
divide journalists in their quest to own and control the media space. Political players in
Zimbabwe have projected media as either hostile to their ideas or as willing instruments
of their power projects.

So we have political players who believe state-owned media must support Zanu-PF and
even celebrate the party's failures as successes. By equal measure, opposition parties like
the MDCs believe privately-owned media must sympathise with them and ignore major
flaws in their organisational set-up. This has entrenched perceptions that private media
work for opposition parties and that public media are extensions of Zanu-PF and, with it,
polarisation.

Zimbabwe's media need to look beyond the close horizons of the current political order
to prepare for a new normal where readers will buy professionalism and integrity.

7 Study commissioned by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 157

2.5.6 Hama Saburi, Editor of The Financial Gazette
Saburi said the media polarisation in Zimbabwe is an offshoot of the polarisation in our
politics whereby there are divergent political attitudes to ideological extremes,
principally between Zanu-PF and the MDC.

What is debatable is whether it is the media influencing political polarisation or vice versa.
... In my view, its both. On the one hand, you have a country with a strong political
inclination that competes to influence the media, hence the polarisation. On the other hand,
you also have media some of whose owners would want to influence political outcomes,
again hence the polarisation. ...Despite our good policy intentions, there is discord in
interpretation. It is the reason why we cannot speak the same language outside of our
borders. It is the reason why some of our companies, especially media houses, are now
perpetually operating in the red, because they have been caught up in the polarisation.

2.5.7 ZBC Reporter Regis Mhako
We should not think in the same way. Diversity and pluralism are important. But there are
crosscutting issues that make up common good. For example, what can we do to remove
poverty? There should be criticism but the end result should be same.

2.6 Political Perspectives Interviews with Stakeholders
Interviews were conducted with key politicians and players in the information and media
industry in Zimbabwe to get their views on this issue of media polarisation. The inquiry
found that politicians on both sides acknowledged the role that the polarised political
landscape has played in fuelling the polarisation in the media.

We are polarised and thats a fact, Rugare Gumbo, then Zanu-PF information secretary,
said. We are polarised because of the political polarisation that has been in the country. I
do not think journalists per se are polarised but they have taken positions based on political
lines and I do not think Zimbabwe benefits from that.

The former MDC-T secretary-general (now with the MDC Renewal), Tendai Biti, added
that, The problem is not fundamentally with journalism but it is the nature of our
society. Its a predatory societyThe politics have never been free. Those who had
liberated us still own us, we have to think the way they want us to, we have to watch
what they want and say what they want.

2.6.1 Prof. Jonathan Moyo, Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services
The minister gave a historical perspective of polarisation and proffered solutions going
forward. He said there is national consensus on the fact that, in the past 15 years or so, the
Zimbabwean society has been characterised by deep-seated polarisation and that this has
manifested itself in the media. Media reports, when you read them, reflect polarisation
which is deep-seated which has reflected divisions which have impacted on the
important issue of the society values, governance and most tellingly, the economy.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 158


He said the causes of the polarisation are about governance and the Constitution, noting
that the 2000 draft constitution was rejected less about its substance or contents and
more about differences and views about what is a good constitution.

He cited the main players in polarisation as politicians, donors, and the international
players who imposed sanctions.... Our polarisation has been notable because on the one
hand it has been political polarisation between Zanu-PF and the MDC formations, and
between us and Britain since the land reform (programme) All these are pointers to
polarisation.

The minister said it is unfortunate that the media ended up becoming major players in the
issue. The media reported on the players but became part of the story themselves, he
said. The media took positions. He said the polarisation of the media went out of
control over the years and has come at a heavy economic cost to the country. We have
had one of the worst sovereign risk assessments for a country that is not at war in the
history of modern countries, because of polarisation.

On media law, Minister Moyo said Western economic sanctions influenced the enactment
of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) in 2002, noting that
AIPPA was a bulwark against the use of the media as an arm of regime change. You
have got to say they were effective.

When a foreign government says that they are going to work against your government,
surely, you should take measures. It is a hostile action. It is an unfortunate situation we
found ourselves in. What would have been easier for us if there was no polarisation, that
offer would have had no takers. But to find some other comrade saying mari yacho
ngaiuye kuno tidhile naana blaa ava [let the money come to us instead so that we deal with
these people in government], then you have to introduce laws to protect the Republic.
Very, very unfortunate situation. I hope we dont ever find ourselves in that kind of a
situation again.

Minister Moyo also addressed this subject during a speech at the National University of
Science and Technology (NUST) in December 2013, when he said:

We are definitely committed to de-polarising the media. We dont want the media to be
defined on the basis of who owns it, we want the media to be defined on the basis of what
it does professionally. To us, there is no Daily News, NewsDay, Southern Eye, Northern Eye,
Western Eye, Eastern Eye, nothing of the sort. There is everyone and we are interested in
working with everyone. Thats the first thing.

You cannot have national development with a divided, polarised media fighting against
each other; failing to come to grips with major centres of thought in the country; failing to

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 159

unleash creativity of thought and action in the country; caught up in political debates
giving the false impression that politics is the only major sub-system of our society; failing
to appreciate that the most important part of our society is our economy and that
everything else including our politics depends on our economy.
(See Appendix 7.1 at end of chapter for relevant part of Ministers speech, with Recommendations)

2.6.2 Dr Simba Makoni, Opposition Party Leader
Dr Simba Makoni is a former Zimpapers Chairman and ex-Finance Minister. He is now
the leader of Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn political party. He believes that the current polarised
environment was mainly a manifestation of political instability in the country.

You cannot have spontaneous polarisation. It is caused by polarisation in the society.
...There is polarisation because we are not a stable country in that sense. We tend to differ
in too many respects. We need to deal with polarisation among political leaders.

2.6.3 Rugare Gumbo, former Zanu-PF Spokesman
The former Zanu-PF party spokesman, Rugare Gumbo, who was expelled from the party
in December 2014, agrees that the media are polarised because of the political
polarisation that has been in the country but said the local media were not that
polarised until year 2000.

Zimbabweans are some of the nicest people you can ever come acrossbut what has
happened is that from year 2000 when land reform started, it became clear that people
started to take sides. Some wanted regime change. When we had opposition political
parties and the MDC getting support from outside to effect regime change, thats when
the Pandoras Box was opened.

Gumbo said the political parties are responsible for dividing the people with their hostile
messages such as labelling of each other as puppets and so forth, and he called on the
media to move away from the fixation on personalities to focus on real issues. To be
frank, I do not like it when ZBC and The Herald give a positive spin to everything the
Zanu-PF or government says. I would rather people focus on developmental projects, and
not the private media way of always moaning.

2.6.4 Tendai Biti of MDC Renewal
Tendai Biti, the former secretary-general of MDC-T who is now with MDC Renewal, was
of the opinion that the main problem facing the Zimbabwean media is a culture of fear in
the country. I dont think there is an editor in this country who can actually say I am
writing a genuine story without a subjective self-consciousness guided by fear and lack of
freedom He echoed sentiments that the media mirror society, saying journalists have
taken positions based on political lines during the past 15 years, adding that some
journalists now see themselves as spokespersons of political parties.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 160

There are three things. The first is that you have the public media occupying a
disproportionate spaceThey are the most well-funded and are ubiquitous, you have got
ZBC, you have got The Chronicle, The Herald, H-metro, Kwayedza. They are not occupying
the space to pursue a national agenda but are only pursuing a party agenda which is
Mugabe. There are others who see that as wrong, and already you have polarisation, a
we and them attitude. So naturally the private media are set up to propound an
alternative view because they cannot all be praise-singers. I blame the polarisation on
politics.

The second thing, which is the essence of polarisation, is that the media become the
mirror of society. We are deeply divided as society, we are intolerant. It does not matter
whether in the church or some newspapers reflect that as well, particularly when some of
you make the crime of seeing yourselves as spokespersons of political parties, thats very
wrong. In as much as we blame The Herald for being an extension of The Peoples Voice,
some of you private media are an extension of The Changing Times, and thats very wrong.

I see the private media contributing much as well to that polarisation. When a
newspaper becomes the story, or generates the story, I think we have a problem. When
the editor thinks like the organising secretary, or president of a party, I think we have a
problem I like British newspapersthe journalists there have ideological positions but
when they write, they are not prisoners of that constituency...

Thirdly, journalists mainly from private newspapers are not totally free of the private
views of their shareholders. If you want to see a political view of shareholders then open
the Financial Gazette, open Newsday, open The Zimbabwe Mail. I do think that is also a
major cause of polarisation.

There is the un-free regulatory element. We dont have a free market of the media. Tied
to that, there are other collateral issues of ownership. Where it becomes a problem, is
when the subjective political views of the shareholder become the makeup of that
newspaper

As a solution to polarisation, Biti called for reforms to the media regulatory environment,
particularly on matters involving the public broadcaster. Lets have reforms which will
include the following. Kick out the State from ownership of the media, especially the so-
called Public Broadcaster because the old arguments justifying that are fallacious. ...You
can still license community broadcasters. ...They deal with local issues....So we need
community broadcasting licences.

2.7 Effects of Polarisation
As the inquiry discovered, the effects of media polarisation are varied and far-reaching but
the most common one cited during the outreach meetings was that polarisation has
generally fuelled the deep divisions that currently exist in Zimbabwe. Most people who

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 161

attended the meetings were of the view that the polarised media landscape has disrupted
efforts at attaining stability and harmony in the country.

Many people said they now avoid reading certain newspapers as well as listening to or
watching some radio and television stations to avoid the biased reporting by these outlets.
One participant at an outreach meeting held at Tusimpe Community Centre in Binga said
she only reads The Chronicle and The Herald as, in her view, private papers were biased. She
went on to call for the banning of some private papers. Similar sentiments were expressed
about state-run newspapers and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, which were
accused of acting like Zanu-PF mouthpieces or commissariat departments.

Other effects of media polarisation highlighted by respondents during the inquiry were:.
Media polarisation destroys important values of tolerance, love, togetherness and
peaceful co-existence.
Polarisation of the media stifles development.
Polarisation retards socio-economic development by wasting money, time and
political space, and promoting conflict.
Polarisation reduces media voices.

During the outreach, the panellists also witnessed incidents that illustrate a polarised
environment. These were evident in the Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwes Mutawatawa area
and at Stodart Hall in Mbare, Harare, where IMPI panellists were ordered to vacate the
venues or risk being harmed. Reasons for the hostile reception ranged from political to
logistical, reinforcing the fact that the environment is politically polarised and the media
are simply reflecting what is prevailing.

2.8 Findings from the Outreach
The survey established that there is unanimity on the causes of polarisation, with that
associated with political party lines being dominant, as confirmed during the build-up to
the hosting of elections. The trend that emerges lends credence to the hypothesis that the
political dispensation has compounded polarisation in the media, with the media across
the spectrum of public and private media blamed for the selective coverage of their
favoured political players. Polarisation has also compromised the ethical standards of
journalism in the country and the media have, therefore, fuelled the polarised
environment.

The findings are as follows:
} Public and private media are partisan and write news in a sensational way.
} The political divide impacts on media, and access to political parties by the opposing
media is often restricted.
} Media houses are reporting with an agenda, soliciting the views of the side that
conforms with their political views, without presenting views of the other side in an
informed manner.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 162

} Media houses have editorial policies that define their approach to content, but often
produce articles to please their funders and investors.
} Journalists tend to exercise self-censorship to avoid offending political and economic
interests of media owners.
} There is self-censorship because of pressure for advertising (both corporate and
government), especially big business interests.
} Both public and private newspapers are aligned to political parties; advertisers and the
commercial sector are also aligned.
} Journalists have accepted bribes from powerful and influential individuals to write
about them or not to write about them, across all sectors, not only in politics but also
business, sports and entertainment.


3 INTERFERENCE
_______________

Media interference can be broadly defined as the influencing or manipulation of journalists
and media outlets internally or externally, and from within or outside the country, to
facilitate favourable news content, production and presentation. These pressures on the
mainstream media exist in most countries for political, personal and economic reasons,
either subtle or blatant, and the main defence is professional ethical journalism and
knowledgeable, experienced editors who know the fine line between advice and
interference.

Mainstream professional journalism is always a trade-off, between the story and the
sources and access to the information needed to explain a matter to the public, including
background information. This is not an easy profession, but it carried respect and authority
in the past due to a perceived integrity and work ethic. Much of that respect has been
diluted and lost, globally, mainly for the same reasons that formed the basis of this inquiry
the conduct and ethics of journalism and media, and resilience of the profession in a
changing world.

The starting point for us to appreciate interference is to understand media freedoms.
Another way to look at it will be to look at each media houses editorial policy or editorial
charter. And yet another way to look at it would be to look at journalistic ethics or
standards. When you have an external influence guiding the direction and pace; that
becomes interference! And this applies to issues of editorial policy/editorial charter,
standards/ethics or freedoms. By way of an example, the vetoing/barring of something
from appearing in any media outlet for reasons that are not necessarily journalistic;
instructing news personnel to cover something even against their news judgment is a
form of interference. Hama Saburi, Editor of the weekly Financial Gazette.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 163

3.1 Legal
The enactment of AIPPA and POSA, and the Broadcasting Services Act at the turn of the
century when Zimbabwe was undergoing abrupt economic and political changes, changed
the media landscape. These three pieces of legislation criminalised defamation in the
practice of journalism, and ushered in regulations for annual licensing of media
practitioners and media houses by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), a statutory
body that can decline registration or deregister licensed persons or media organisations.

The forced closure of ANZs Daily News and Capitol Radio in the early 2000s sent a clear
message that the government meant business, and that players could not ignore the laws,
except at their own peril. A zealous police force ensured that journalists complied or they
found themselves in a cell, with many remand hearings before cases were abandoned. The
fear of police harassment and spending days in prison or court rather than writing stories,
meant that many a journalist and media house chose to exercise self-censorship. In this
respect, the external circumstances circumscribed the conduct of the media.

3.2 Self-Censorship
For a practicing journalist, even an ethical one, self-censorship is a tricky concept, because a
story cannot contain everything known about an issue or activity, and therefore the
selection of facts, data and other information to go into a story is by its nature subjective.
Self-censorship is therefore specifically about deliberately omitting a very important aspect
known to the writer during the selection of contents for an article, in self-interest, because it
would not please someone influential in the newspaper or in society.

3.3 Owner Interference
The ownership structure of the media in Zimbabwe and elsewhere facilitates interference,
as the media are owned by the public through the state, and by private companies and
individuals who have their own agendas. Despite the media having editorial charters, some
editors admitted that owners dictate what they want projected by their media products.

3.4 Proprietary Interference
The IMPI outreach programmes revealed an influential factor of interference that is internal
to the media industry, where there are several forms of media interference, including
political, corporate, and media ownership; and this interference is rampant in both the
public and the private media. Many media proprietors adapted to the changing economic
landscape where companies who were clients were restructuring or collapsing, with the
resultant impact on advertising revenues, by deliberately avoiding stories that negatively
portrayed their potential advertisers, as a means to keep afloat.

This subtle economic pressure applied by business and the corporate sector on the media
has negatively affected the production of news. Many corporate scandals have gone
unreported, not because the media are unaware, but because it is not financially prudent to

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 164

report on them. In some instances, the media owners have told their employees openly who
are the untouchables in the corporate sector.

3.5 Corporate Interference
Interviews with editors of The Herald, The Daily News and Alpha Media Holdings group
confirmed corporate interference in news generation, production and presentation. The
editors alleged that big corporations took advantage of the economic challenges facing the
country to determine news content. They withheld advertising if the media published what
they considered to be negative stories against them or their friends.

Two corporates listed on the stock exchange were mentioned as the main culprits in one
example. They have huge advertising budgets, and without their support, most media
houses would struggle. Another example given by a weekly newspaper was a court case
initiated by a corporate entity a few years ago to prevent publication of an article about an
impending loan. The company stopped all advertising until the proprietor approached the
owner and apologised. Financial muscle was used to determine media content.

Corporates also exert influence by determining advertising rates, and seeking
concessionary rates, and the media houses often have no option but to accept because
every dollar counts in a fragile economy.

3.6 Political Interference


There is a perception among the public that interference is rampant mainly in the public
media, affecting the national broadcaster ZBC and the publicly-owned Zimpapers that
publishes The Herald,The Chronicle, The Sunday Mail, The Sunday News, The Manica Post,
Kwayedza, Umthunywa, H-Metro, and B-Metro, and operates Star FM radio.

Most people interviewed during the outreach felt that political interference has damaged
the credibility of the national broadcaster to the extent that they no longer listen to the radio
stations or watch the television programmes. This is compounded by the fact that they may
have been unable to listen or watch consistently, as access in many parts of the country is
limited, another factor noted by most of the respondents. During the outreach programme,
several respondents also said that the public media are run by the information ministry to
propagate government and ruling party policies, and are under instructions to attack
government opponents; while it is rare for government opponents to feature positively or
prominently in the public media.

The inquiry found that there is also an increase in what has become known as diskette
journalism, where stories are allegedly written by politicians and other influential
individuals, and then given to newspapers, radio and television stations to publish. Such
allegations have been levelled against both the private and public media, with the latter
said to have stories planted by the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting
Services. Professor Jonathan Moyo, the current Information Minister, denied such planting

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 165

of stories, but was unapologetic for determining the editorial policy direction of Zimpapers
and ZBC as public institutions8.

Hama Saburi, editor of The Financial Gazette added that, We often hear of perplexing
stories elsewhere where journalists are told what to write by their owners; where diskette
journalism has taken root, with diskettes being brought into the newsrooms and fed into
news queues without any alteration, editing or verification of facts; where journalists
participate in brainstorming sessions for political parties and thereafter guide the editorial
line to be taken by their respective media houses in conformity with party agendas; and
where politics of the stomach is carrying the day. This is not good for the industry.
Hopefully, IMPI will go a long way towards providing the basis through which these
issues could be addressed.

3.7 Corruption as Interference
The issue of journalists taking bribes was also highlighted by editors as a form of
interference. Politicians and businesspeople allegedly pay some journalists to influence
coverage and at times to kill negative stories. Chequebook or brown envelope
journalism has become rampant because of the political and economic challenges in the
country, the editors said. Media houses are struggling to pay workers on time and
remuneration is often low; making them susceptible to bribes. This occurs not only in
politics and business, but also in sports and entertainment sectors. Some journalists boast of
their illegal earnings.

3.8 Key Findings
The media in Zimbabwe are generally regarded by the public as manifestly corrupt and
designed for disinformation, propaganda and information cover-up, across the spectrum.

There is no longer a mass media publication of public record that is widely respected and
regarded as factual, as with The Herald through the decade of the 1980s into the 1990s, when
the opinion pages were fully separate to the news pages and clearly labelled. Interference in
the media comes from many directions, and those who interfere often have personal,
political or commercial interests in the way that content is generated, packaged and
presented.

The interference may be crude or subtle, paid or unpaid, and the response can be ingrained
in media training or mentoring, as well as in active service. Zimbabwes media have
suffered multiple interferences from both public and private sector within the country, as
well as from external factors.





8 Recorded interview with IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 166


Media Council of Kenya (MCK) experience

The Media Council of Kenya is a statutory body established by the Media Council Act, No. 20
of 2013 as the leading institution in the regulation of media and the conduct and discipline of
journalists.

The council started as a self-regulating body in 2004 to regulate the media industry in Kenya but

transited through the Media Act 2007 and adopted a co-regulation approach, where board
members and the secretariat, while receiving government funds to support some of its activities,
remain very independent in their operations.

The fundamental public interest maxim of media freedom and freedom of expression, and
principles of open and independent media that promotes participatory democracy, rule of law
and accountability, underpin the media regulation process by the council. The rights and

privileges of journalists are protected while professionalism, and accountability of media
workers is upheld.

Training on the code of conduct for the practice of journalism is a major activity, while dispute
resolution by the Complaints Commission of the Media Council ensures that the public have an
opportunity to raise complaints against the conduct and behaviour of journalists and media
houses.

The MCK receives modest funding from the government and also levies media houses and
individual journalists. The funds are used for activities undertaken by the council.




4 PERCEPTIONS
_______________

Perception is the process by which people translate sensory impressions into a coherent
and unified view of the world around them. Though necessarily based on incomplete and
unverified (or unreliable) information, perception is equated with reality for most practical
purposes and guides human behaviour in general. (Business Dictionary)

4.1 Key Findings
4.1.1 Public media vs Private Media
The IMPI inquiry observed that individual perceptions of media bias affect the ability of
individuals and groups to properly assess bias in the news content of the media houses. It
is normal for different media houses to present different perspectives, but some of the
responses suggested that all of the many newspapers and radio stations should be
presenting the same opinion, whether public or private media. The challenge is in
separating the opinions from the news coverage in the newspapers and in broadcasting.
Both are normal components of the media, when clearly identified.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 167

What we observed during the IMPI outreach meetings, in the form of attendances,
successes and in some cases meetings that were disrupted, clearly showed that
perceptions stand in the way of information dissemination in Zimbabwe. Some
participants perceived IMPI as a pro-government inquiry, ignoring the presence of
panellists from across the media spectrum, while others seized on the presence of
practitioners from the private media to reinforce their perception that this was an
opposition initiative.

There seemed to be little understanding, in some cases, that it would be possible for
representatives from public and private media to sit together to conduct a joint inquiry to
assess and inform the future of their profession and collect information about the
information sector in general, and the specific needs and ideas of the people of Zimbabwe.

4.1.2 Perceptions of the Messenger
If the message is from government, then pro-government and ruling party structures are
activated and their people attend. If there is a sense that the message or messengers have
an opposition background, inclination, flavour or history, then people from the opposition
parties are more enthusiastic about attending, than those from the ruling party. There are
perceptions that if information in the form of public enquiries such as IMPI, has come from
government, then the process is part of electioneering and will not produce tangible results.
People have more faith in or identify with the messenger, than the message, and choose to
believe the information delivered on the basis of who is delivering it.

4.1.3 Perceptions Fuel Polarisation
Perceptions fuel polarisation in the media. There have been cases where individuals have
been assaulted or their properties destroyed for buying papers perceived to belong to a
rival political party. More than 95 percent of stakeholders who spoke to IMPI agreed that
there is polarisation, interference and deeply ingrained perceptions in the information and
media sector in Zimbabwe. These have come at a cost to the nation. Therefore, the media
stakeholders must work together to change this perception.


5 ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE INQUIRY
_______________________

5.1 A Statistical Analysis of Basic Data from Outreach Focus Groups
The Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) undertook a countrywide review of the
state of the information and media industry in Zimbabwe to generate baseline information
that would inform policy interventions to improve the sector going forward. As part of the
methodology, the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe provided the population space from which
respondents were sampled. A total of 2,817 participants were sampled for the outreach.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 168

Table1 Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference Focus Group Outreach
Mat Mat Bulawayo Mash Mash Mash Manica- Ma- Mid- Chitu- Harare TOTAL
North South Metro East West Central land svingo lands ngwiza Metro
Males 46 106 92 45 542 111 80 178 300 34 654 2188
Females 11 83 18 47 186 74 0 78 0 12 120 629
TOTAL 57 189 110 92 728 185 80 256 300 46 774 2817

This analysis straddles across qualitative and quantitative data to try to provide an
objectively balanced picture of the subject under review. A total of 44 Focus Group
meetings were held across the provinces to generate primary data on the theme, attended
by 2,817 participants, as shown in Table 1. Of these participants 629 (22.3 percent) were
females, while the balance of 2,188 (77.7 percent) were males.

This distribution of participation at the meetings indicates that gender representation is an
important consideration when it comes to media, and one can infer that males dominate
interest in this regard. This could emphasise a gap in the media sector that women are
maybe undersold to the significance of media in the socio-economic and political landscape
of Zimbabwe, implying an opportunity for strategies to actively engage women in the
media sector.

Harare, Mashonaland West and Midlands accounted for 64 percent of the participants, with
each accounting for 27 percent, 25.8 percent, and 10 percent respectively.

5.1.1 Polarisation
Feedback from Outreach sessions across all provinces agree that polarisation manifests in
the media, and primary information generated from 75 questionnaires also reflects this
view. The questionnaires were distributed to media personnel in Bulawayo, Harare,
Masvingo, Matebeleland North, Mashonaland Central, and Midlands. This picture
confirms that public opinion identifies a high degree of polarisation in the media, with 87
percent agreeing that it exists, whilst a negligible 4 percent disagree with that hypothesis, as
shown in Chart 1.

Chart 1: Propor9on of Opinion that believes there is Polarisa9on


in the Media
Not sure
9%
Disagree
4%

Agree
87%

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 169

The Survey also provides evidence that there is unanimity of opinion on the causes of
polarisation, with that associated with political party lines being dominant, as confirmed
during the build-up to the hosting of elections. Based on Chart 2 below, 73.5% of the
respondents indicated that an election period magnifies the polarisation in the media, while
25% identify polarisation with any period. Very few of the respondents (1.5%) see
polarisation as a factor in national and international commemorations.

The trend that emerges lends credence to the hypothesis that the political dispensation has
compounded polarisation in the media, with the media across the spectrum of public and
private sector being blamed for the selective coverage of their favoured political players.
The media have further fuelled the polarised environment, and polarisation has also
compromised the ethical standards of journalism in the country.

A further probing on the areas in which polarisation is prominent indicates that
respondents believe this is a factor mainly in the politics and governance subsector, as
noted by 89.5% of the respondents. The social and the business sector record a negligible
5%. The polarisation debate is also rooted in the political economy that shapes the media
space in Zimbabwe, dating back to the pre-independence era.

5.1.2 Interference
The IMPI survey results drawn from primary data gathered across the 10 administrative
provinces covering journalists, reporters, and editors reveals that 88 percent of
respondents confirm that their articles are guided by an editorial policy, five percent say
no, while seven percent do not know. This is illustrated by Figure 1.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 170

Figure 1 Does Your Organisation Have an
Editorial Policy?

88%

5% 7%
YES NO DONT KNOW



According to the survey results, as shown in Figure 2, management determines editorial
policy, with 52 percent of the respondents holding that view, while government also has a
bearing on that, with 28 percent influence. What can be inferred from the results is that
this picture could be representing the scenario for private media, where management may
influence editorial policy driven by the profit motive. If this scenario is taken to reflect the
public media, it can be noted that the 28 percent government interest in editorial would be
a measure of the influence of the Ministry of Information. It is therefore apparent that
shareholders have a significant influence on editorial policy if they run media businesses.

Figure 2 Who Determines Editorial Policy?

52%

28%
15%
5%
Government Management Board of Dont Know
Directors


On interference in the newsroom, the results reveal that 51 percent of the respondents
discount the influence of owners, while a sizable 42 percent believe there is interference.
This picture illustrated as Figure 3, points to a significant influence in the newsrooms by
owners, at 42 percent.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 171

Figure 3 Do Media Owners Interfere in
Newsrooms?

51%
42%

7%
Yes No Dont Know





The survey results also confirm some correlation between editorial policy and a
compromise to journalistic independence. Of the 75 media practitioners covered by the
questionnaires, half (51%) indicated that this was a constraint to their ethical conduct and
professionalism, as depicted in Figure 4.

Fig 4: Impact of Editorial Policy on
Independence

NO 49.18

YES 50.82

48 48.5 49 49.5 50 50.5 51




The survey indicates therefore that interference is present in the public media, with the
expectation of coverage understood to suit specific social, economic and political contexts;
while the privately owned media face similar challenges to meet the expectation of owners,
advertisers, sponsors and readers.

When the position of the media practitioner in the hierarchy is considered as a variable, it
was found that on the issue of interference, editors discount the possibility of this
constraint. Ironically, when shifting down in hierarchy towards reporters, and lower ranks,
interference is cited as a constraint to ethical and professional conduct.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 172

5.1.3 Perceptions
On this aspect of the survey the analysis is confined to qualitative data rather than
quantitative data given the nature of the variable under investigation. For example what
emerges is that given the extent to which polarisation is rampant in the media, those
practitioners working in the public media are perceived to favour government, while those
in the private media are perceived to the part of the opposition to government.

The survey further reveals that this observation also played out during the fieldwork, with
these perceptions affecting the attendances at the IMPI Outreach meetings. The successful
hosting of these meetings hinged a lot on how the Outreach sessions were held and where.

It was also observed that public perceptions have a bearing on the hosting of public fora,
with those organised by pro-government agencies perceived as worthwhile attending. This
picture changes when the perception is that such a forum is organised by individuals
perceived to be from the opposition, again depending on how and where it was held.
_________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 173

INFORMATION &
6 RECOMMENDATIONS MEDIA PANEL OF
POLARISATION, PERCEPTION AND INTERFERENCE INQUIRY
6.1 Polarisation
6.1.1 One agreed Code of Ethics and a Common Media Training Curriculum
There must be accuracy, integrity, correctness and consistency, and fairness in media
coverage, and this professionalism can return to the media if all are guided by one
agreed Code of Ethics and a common Media Training Curriculum. All media, both
public and private, must adhere to professional standards of journalism.

6.1.2 6.1.2 Co-regulatory body with a complaints system


There should be a system of co-regulation of the media statutory and voluntary
which has a complaints system that is representative and a mandatory adjudicative
panel of first instance for every media-related complaint, with the option of recourse
to the courts on appeal, thus reducing the financial burden of recourse to courts at
first instance.

6.1.3 Public media should be national in scope reflecting the public interest. The
national broadcaster should be a public service broadcaster.

6.1.4 The media space should be depoliticised


Journalists should stand apart from political engagement and use appropriate
language when analysing political issues. Public meetings should be open to all media
across the spectrum. There should be a platform to discuss national interest issues and
content.

6.1.5 6.1.5 All stakeholders must demonstrate willingness to reduce polarisation


The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, as well as media houses,
journalists, political parties and the commercial sector should demonstrate willingness
to reduce polarisation.

6.2 Interference
6.2.1 Public media must serve the interests of the public and the nation
Government must create an enabling legislative framework based on the
Constitution, and leave the public media in the hands of boards of directors with
responsibility for selecting and assessing senior management and ensuring that they
have the policy, vision and support to do their work in a professional manner. The
boards in consultation with the shareholders should define an editorial policy that
speaks to the public interest, professionalism and integrity.

6.2.2 Private sector owners and corporates must not interfere with media content
A binding Code of Ethics should be agreed by stakeholders to define ethical
conduct by all participants including owners and corporations, to stop the corporate
sector from interfering with media products. The Advertising Media Association
(ADMA) should ensure that corporates do not interfere with content gathering,
production and presentation, or use advertising rates to force unethical decisions.
....continued


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 174

INFORMATION &
RECOMMENDATIONS continued

POLARISATION, PERCEPTION AND INTERFERENCE


MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

6.2.3 Co-regulation of the media is the preferred approach


To deflect interference by owners, editors or journalists and to promote media
professionalism and ethics, it is recommended that Zimbabwe adopts a system of co-
regulation of the media statutory and voluntary similar to the Media Council of
Kenya model, and enforces an agreed Code of Ethics for media houses and journalists
that is anchored in professionalism and integrity. All media houses and journalists should
be members of a Media Council with powers to discipline its members.

6.2.4 Media training curriculum must include non-interference


Media training institutions should be obliged to include this component of non-
interference, through a common curriculum and formal accreditation.

6.3 Perceptions
6.3.1 Media space must be depoliticised
The media space must be depoliticised to rebuild public confidence and enable
media houses to implement their editorial policies within a regulatory framework set
by government.

6.3.3 A professional media community can develop through training and mentoring
There must be professional training and mentoring to develop a professional media
community, with due attention to the opportunities and challenges offered by the
changing technology and changing perceptions of the information sector.

6.3.4 There must be an agreed Code of Ethics


Media practitioners must find common ground on professionalism and ethics through
an agreed Code of Ethics that is a public document.

6.3.5 Conditions for journalists must be improved to avoid corruption


Conditions of service for journalists must be addressed to insulate them against
corruption, and contracts to include an enforceable anti-corruption commitment.

6.3.6 Perceptions must be changed by the media.


The perceptions that fuel polarisation have been built up by the media over many
years, and these perceptions must now be changed by the same media.

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 175

7 APPENDIX

____________

7.1 Part of the Speech by the Minister of Media, Information and


Broadcasting Services, Hon. Professor Jonathan Moyo, at the National
University of Science and Technology, in December 2013, about the
reasons for the current media situation in Zimbabwe and the way forward

We have to remember that, in Rhodesia we had the electronic media, broadcasting and
then the print media. The electronic media was run and owned by the Rhodesian state and
the print media by business interests from South Africa which supported UDI [Unilateral
Declaration of Independence] such that the mainstream media in our country during the
liberation struggle, both print and electronic, supported the Rhodesian state, supported
UDI.

So there was nothing to inherit, nothing progressive to inherit at independence from a


media point of view and in a comprehensive, inclusive sense of the media, we have had to
pay a price for that, we are paying a price today for that.

The state of the media today is very polarised. Partly because of that inheritance of the
liberation struggle during which the media was not a factor, in fact the media was used to
demonise the liberation struggle, to demonise freedom fighters, to suggest that they were
anti-Christian, evil, barbaric, with no values worth celebrating or worth being proud of,
that was the view of the mainstream media. Now that is the first reason why we have this
situation.

The second reason is that at independence, the new state inherited the media that was set
up by the Rhodesians and in the case of broadcasting we even asked the British through the
BBC to help us set up a new broadcasting service and all this thing of Radio 1, 2, 3, 4 which
was not really creative at all, is British stuff.

But we inherited that and asked the erstwhile colonisers to help us set up a new thing, but
we did not think seriously about how to ensure that this new broadcasting service should
reflect multiple viewpoints, the full spectrum of national discourse, national opinion based
on one common national platform, one nationality, united nation and driven by
professional values.

So we took a lot of things for granted and did not consider the ideological challenges that
come with the construction of the media in a new independent state. And in the case of the

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 176

print media we simply bought out the South Africans, Angus Press used to own all the
mainstream media. We bought them out thanks to a grant that was given to us by the
Nigerians who gave us $5 million. We just bought them out.

Again, without raising fundamental issues about the redesign, if you look at Zimpapers
today its structure is as it was in Rhodesia, as we speak right now. Still structured like that.
It has some sense of a southern and northern part of the country and there is a belief that
the northern part is more important than the southern part.

Instead of viable business units, it uses branches as if it is a tree. We havent subjected it to


an ideological shake-up that reflects the values, ideals and ethos of the new nation of
Zimbabwe as a united nation, not one with southern and northern and branches and so
forth. We inherited that. That is the second reason that has come to haunt us and we have
paid a price.

On the Private Media

The third issue which explains why the situation is like this is that those interests in our
country which have sought to come up with whatever you want to call it alternative
media, independent media, which we all know is a fallacy, or private media, which we also
know is a fallacy if it is private why dont you do it in your house in private and leave us
alone?

But the private media, independent media, has emerged in Zimbabwe in opposition of
what has been perceived as the state media or a public media. It has not emerged out of
independent values of expressing a legitimate but perhaps different viewpoint which is
national, based on national interest and which is professional as opposed to political; which
is run by men and women who have diplomas and degrees and experience in the
profession, as opposed to political commissars masquerading as journalists and doing so in
opposition of the state media inherited without a critical reformation and therefore
emerging out of a historical circumstance which is in fact very narrow.

This is the way the independent media is developed and sometimes formed by very angry
people who have been victimised by the state in one way or the other and then who
conclude they were victimised because they didnt have a platform of self-expression or self
defence. If you are a human being with the God-given capacity you can rule, speak and
defend yourself but if you dont, what do you do? So some of these elements who had been
in their view victimised, they found it necessary to start the media and fight the state, fight
the government.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 177

But before that development, here in Zimbabwe there were attempts by international
capital to form independent newspapers, especially by Lonrho and Tiny Rowland. This
they were doing all over colonial states, you would get a multi-national corporation which
used to support colonial interests but now finding themselves in an independent country
and making capital available to form newspapers to defend their interests. We had The
Times here, even the history of the Financial Gazette has those elements.

We are paying the price for that because that is inconsistent with the kind of dispensation
of the media I said is coming in the future.

Polarised Public Opinion

The fourth reason is that these three paradigms, these three first reasons ended up creating
a climate of opinion in our country that divided Zimbabweans along political lines or along
political positions and polarised public opinion and polarised public discourse.

The polarisation is what we have seen over the past 13 years. The reason it happened this
way, which is really the fourth reason, is that the erstwhile colonial power took advantage
of this situation and started having media projects, new media projects which purported to
be about democracy in Zimbabwe claiming there was no democracy in Zimbabwe; about
human rights, about good governance, about fighting corruption, about personal freedoms,
and gave the impression that these things were not present in our country and they started
being sought in 2000, that until the year 2000 these things were not part of our public life,
our politics, our policies, our relations and our governance.

This comes up only 20 years after our independence. Twenty years may be a long time in
your life yourselves, but it is not a long time in the life of a country, it is nothing. And 20
years down the line you find the country facing this whole human rights onslaught, a
country which actually fought for its liberation struggle and which liberation struggle was
informed by a historic need to restore these things democracy, human rights, good
governance, freedom. Suddenly somebody comes and says but this is precisely what is not
here, so lets fight for these things and creates multiple media projects.

Media as Regime Change Agents

You will recall, I think in 2001, the former American Assistant Secretary of State for African
Affairs Walter Kansteiner, when he was making a presentations before a sub-committee of
congress boasting that the US government was working with NGOs and media

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 178

practitioners in Zimbabwe and outside Zimbabwe within the region to effect regime change
in Zimbabwe. And the media became a major, major partner in the regime change agenda.

We're working with the civil society that is in Zimbabwe, and that includes a number of human
rights groups, includes some independent journalists groups, and so we're actively doing that, as are
a number of the European Community countries, too,"Assistant Secretary Kansteiner said.

So we had the development of a whole media sector informed by, driven by, controlled by
and sponsored by merchants of regime change having nothing to do with that
communication capacity which God gave us but which disappears in a mass society and
which requires us to invent ways of continuing that communication which became driven
by a political agenda to fight the roots of our existence as a new country, an independent
country.

And we have so many examples of that media, which some schools like yours were
either recipients of this support or celebrated it or presented it as an example of media
freedom, contributing to the polarisation. Academics have been part of this, right in the
thick of things.

Recommendations

You cannot have national development with a divided, polarised media fighting against
each other; failing to come to grips with major centres of thought in the country; failing to
unleash creativity of thought and action in the country; caught up in political debates
giving the false impression that politics is the only major sub-system of our society; failing
to appreciate that the most important part of our society is our economy and that
everything else including our politics depends on our economy.

We said we must now engage each other as to what is our national interest. Do we have a
shared understanding of that national interest? We now must engage ourselves as to what
are the professional requirements of media practitioners?

We are definitely committed to de-polarising the media. We dont want the media to be
defined on the basis of who owns it, we want the media to be defined on the basis of what
it does professionally. To us, there is no Daily News, NewsDay, Southern Eye, Northern Eye,
Western Eye, Eastern Eye, nothing of the sort.

There is everyone and we are interested in working with everyone. ...

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 179

Fifth, we are now clear in terms of our Constitution that there must be recognition of the
inherent dignity and worth of the human being. We cant allow our colonisers to run away
with the notion that they are more interested in the dignity of our people than we are, it
does not make sense. That was political theft and we must now reclaim what is ours and
make clear that is indeed our own commitment and that is why it is a founding value and
principle in our own constitution.

Sixth, we now have to be very clear that we recognise the equality of all human beings.
There are no human beings that are more equal than others as a matter of our constitutional
commitment.

Seventh, which is good news to all the women here, because we fought for our liberation
knowing that it was women and men fighting for it, we must be very committed in real
terms to gender equality as a constitutional commitment, as a foundation and a principal
value. Its not someone else telling us that, its ourselves. Its our own Constitution; its not
a British agenda.

Eighth, we must be committed to good governance not only in terms of national


institutions and agencies but to all public institutions and that is why we have to do things
at ZBC, we have to do things at Zimpapers and all these places, and where we find them
not doing things according to good governance, we are not going to accept any reasons
based on history, status and so forth. Its proficiency, performance!

And lastly, nine, we must show respect for and of the liberation struggle as a constitutional
requirement. Its in the Constitution which was voted for by Zimbabweans on the 16th of
March and which first became law, some aspects of it on the 22nd of May and all aspects of
it on the 22nd of August now binding us and this is very good stuff. We didnt have this
background, now we do and that assures me that the future of the media can only be bright
because this is now the new foundation. __________________________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 180

7.2 QUESTIONNAIRE USED IN THE INQUIRY

IMPI

Information and Media Panel of Inquiry


TO PROMOTE AND ELEVATE THE STANDARDS OF MEDIA PRACTICE

Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services


Production Services, 57 Mazowe Street, Harare
Telephone:263-4-795521/263 (0)716801275
impi.zimbabwe@gmail.com

Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference

a) Questionnaire for Journalists and Presenters

Gender

Male Female

Age: 18- 35 36- 65 65 and above

Province . Town/City

1. What type of media organisation do you work for?

i) Mainstream newspaper ii) Radio Station

iii)Television station iv) Online media

v) Community newspapers

b)What position do you hold?..............................................................................................

2. Are the Zimbabwean media polarised?

i) Agree i ii) Disagree iii) Not sure

Explain

3. a) In your view what causes polarisation?


..........................................................................................

b) Who is responsible for the polarisation? .

4. Does your organisation take a position when covering issues?

i) Yes ii) No iii) Not Sure

5. Have you ever fallen victim of any form of interference in covering your stories?

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 181

i) Yes ii) No

Explain
.

6. Do you have regular commentators or analysts in your stories?

i) Yes ii) No

Explain if you have........

..

7. Are you affiliated to any political party?

i) Yes ii) No

8. Does your political affiliation affect your work?

9. Are you aligned to any corporate interests?

i) Yes ii) No

Explain

10. Do you have an editorial policy?

i) Yes ii) No

10. b) Does your editorial policy have any provision on polarisation and interference?

i) Yes ii) No

Explain
.

11. Which occasions do you think generate polarisation and interference?

i) Any occasion ii) Elections iii) Constitution making

iv National and international commemorations

12) What can be done to eliminate polarisation and interference in the media?

13) Any other comments / recommendations.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 182

Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference
b) Interview Questions for Editors,TV and Radio Producers
1. What is your definition of polarisation?

2. Do you think the Zimbabwean media are polarised? Explain (details when it started)

3. Which beats / issues have rampant polarisation and interference?

4. How would you define interference in the media?

5. In your view what action would constitute interference?

6. Do owners have interference over content?

7. What is your source of funding, are you donor or investor funded?

8. Do your advertisers have any influence over your content?

9. Has your paper / station and publication taken a positional stance in the coverage of
issues? If yes, why?

10. What is your comment on the general perception that polarisation has compromised
ethical and professional journalism?

11. Do you believe you exercise freedom of expression?

12. In what way do polarisation and interference affect media as a business?

13. Does your editorial policy have provisions on polarisation and any form of interferences in
the media? Explain.

14. In your view how can polarisation be curbed?

15. How can interference be curbed?

16. Any recommendations?

Polarisation, Perceptions and Interference

c)Interview Questions for Political Parties (representatives)

1. What is your general perception on the Zimbabwean media today?


2. How would you define polarisation in the media? Any ideas on what causes the media to
be polarised?
3. Does your political party have any preference in terms of newspapers or broadcasting
stations? Which ones are these?
4. Why those ones in particular?
5. What is your working relationship with the media?
6. What is your view on the general perception that politicians interfere with the media?
7. In what way do you think polarisation and interference can be curbed?
8. Any recommendations? ____________________________________________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 183

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

CHAPTER 4

ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM

Chapter 4 and 5

Report of the Thematic Committee on

Training, Training Capacity and Ethics

PANELISTS

Susan Makore, Committee Chairperson

Cris Chinaka

Justice Douglas Dhliwayo

Geoffrey Nyarota

Programme/Research Officer

Farayi Chimbindi

IMPI


CONTENTS

CHAPTER 4

Editorially the information sector


faces a real values dilemma. This
1. Introduction
has gone beyond being a charge
2. Summary of Findings against journalism by those in
power. It has become a self-
3. Some Challenges for Professional
admitted shortcoming by
Standards of Journalism in Zimbabwe
practitioners of the industry.
4. Conduct and Ethics of Journalists and
Media Years of adversarial and polarised
relationships have levied a
5. Code of Conduct Developed by the horrendous toll on professional and
Voluntary Media Council of ethical standards.
Zimbabwe
The sectors values crisis has to
6. Recommendations
be addressed in a comprehensive
7. Appendix way that seeks integrity and
professionalism in the sector.....
Media Code of Ethics / Conduct
From Terms of Reference for An
Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania, Official Inquiry into State of the
Zambia Information and Media Industry in
Zimbabwe

Information and Media Panel of Inquiry IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 185

1 INTRODUCTION
_________________________

Chapter 4 and 5 reflect the findings of the Thematic Committee on Training, Training
Capacity and Ethics from its inquiry process undertaken alongside six other IMPI
thematic committees from April 4, 2014. Under the Training component, the committee
examined aspects involving the enhancing of professional skills; under Capacity building,
the committee examined means, ways and facilities that enable the strengthening of such
skills; and ultimately, under Ethics, the thrust was on values, in other words, the way of
life under which these skills are put to use. This chapter presents the findings and
recommendations on Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism, while Chapter 5
addresses Media Training and Training Capacity.

1.1 Terms of Reference

The committee was mandated to inquire into the values and standards of professional
journalism to seek ways of addressing the sectors value crisis in a comprehensive way
that could return integrity and professionalism to the sector, and further to seek ideas and
policy direction through comparative study of selected neighbouring countries in this
regard.

1.2 Methodology

The committee used both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather information on
the values and standards of professional journalism in Zimbabwe, while also drawing
examples from other countries in the region, with particular emphasis on the status of and
the need for a national Code of Ethics for journalists. Methods employed were public
outreach inquiries, desk research, stakeholder interviews and a regional study tour.

2 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
_____________________________

There is no single body of rules or standards of ethics or professional behaviour to guide
Zimbabwean journalists in the practice of their profession, although a few media
organisations have crafted their own Codes of Ethics to guide editorial operations.

It is apparent that, generally speaking, there is confusion in media circles, including at the
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), over what constitutes a journalistic
Code of Ethics, as opposed to a Code of Conduct of Employment. A Code of Ethics of
Journalism lays down the rules for the proper practice of journalism, while a Code of
Conduct regulates employment practices in and out of the media sector. What VMCZ

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 186

calls its Code of Conduct is, in fact, a Code of Journalism Ethics. By way of illustration, a
Code of Conduct will state that an employee must receive two warnings before being
suspended, for instance, while a Code of Journalism Ethics will enjoin journalists to
always report truthfully.

The closest to a national Code of Ethics is that developed by the Voluntary Media Council
of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), a self-regulatory body created by the media industry. This code is
currently under review. Most privately owned newspapers subscribe to the tenets of the
VMCZ Code of Conduct and print the VMCZ logo on their leader or op-ed page
alongside their commitment to truthful, accurate, fair and balanced news reporting.

If we do not meet these standards register your complaints with the Voluntary Media
Council of Zimbabwe, the compliant newspapers advise their readers. VMCZ staff are
kept busy attending to such complaints as registered by disgruntled members of the
public. This committee reviewed a long list of the complaints that the council has dealt
with during 2014.

Unfortunately, the largest media organisations, Zimbabwe Newspapers (Pvt) Ltd and the
national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, are not members of VMCZ.
They do not officially subscribe to its Code of Conduct. Of late, the Ministry of
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, the parent ministry of these organisations,
has made efforts to influence a change of perspective within the State media in this
regard.

Ethics are values or sets of standards, and are defined as the systematic reflection of what
is moral. In the context of journalism, this is a question about what is good and what is
right journalistically. Morality encompasses opinions, decisions and actions with which
journalists express what they think is good or right. Functioning media are founded on
ethical standards that promote informed opinions in a well structured environment.

Every society has experienced a situation in which the powerful in politics and business
find their affairs critically observed by the media, and so find themselves under public
scrutiny. However, due to corruption and abuse of power, journalistic ethics are often
thrown out through the window by editors and reporters.

According to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, freedom of the press and freedom of speech
are essential elements of a democratic society, because only the continuous struggle
between opinions and constant intellectual debate will safeguard democracy, hence the
need for ethics.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 187


Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 61 Freedom of expression and freedom of the media

(1) Every person has the right to freedom of expression, which includes
(a) freedom to seek, receive and communicate ideas and other information;

(b) freedom of artistic expression and scientific research and creativity; and

(c) academic freedom.
(2) Every person is entitled to freedom of the media, which freedom includes protection
of the confidentiality of journalists sources of information.
(3) Broadcasting and other electronic media of communication have freedom of

establishment, subject only to State licensing procedures that
(a) are necessary to regulate the airwaves and other forms of signal distribution; and
(b) are independent of control by government or by political or commercial

interests.

(4) All State-owned media of communication must
(a) be free to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts or
other communications;

(b) be impartial; and
(c) afford fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting
opinions.

(5) Freedom of expression and freedom of the media exclude
(a) incitement to violence;
(b) advocacy of hatred or hate speech;
(c) malicious injury to a persons reputation or dignity; or
(d) malicious or unwarranted breach of a persons right to privacy.


2.1 Issues Emerging from the Public Inquiry


Generally speaking, there is a belief among Zimbabweans that standards of journalism in
their country have gone down and communities expressed this opinion repeatedly during
outreach meetings organized by IMPI. Some attributed the lack of appropriate conduct by
journalists to poor journalism training in the country. They identified a lot of
misrepresentation of stories on which locals had first-hand information. Issues were
raised around the following five categories, although the overlap is noted, and all have an
ethical dimension.

2.1.1 Ethics

v Members of the public recommended that journalists must take an oath that they
will uphold the ethics of their profession.

v Recent reports on corruption appear to have stopped, but the cases were not
resolved. The media has a tendency not to follow stories through to conclusion,
thus suggesting corruption among media practitioners as well, called brown
envelopism.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 188

v Journalists must always be professional and ethical, as some of their deviations
from these standards are not to be expected in a country that has existed as an
independent nation for 34 years.

v Some reports, especially on the Internet do not present an accurate picture of the
situation on the ground. They are always on the attack, with no analysis of what
Zimbabweans are doing to develop their country.

v The polarisation of the media, despite being initially confined to that existing
between the State and the private media, has significantly impacted on the
accountability of the journalism profession, by evoking un-statutory actions that
defy the tenets of ethical conduct, leading to a proliferation of unreliable
information being disseminated.

v Journalists need to find a platform where they agree on common goals as
Zimbabweans.

v Newspaper headlines must not incite the public. Some newspapers are guilty of
inciting violence. Some headlines are not factual.

v Journalists must not be arrested. They should be left to perform their duties
professionally and ethically, always mindful of the need to do their job properly,
while upholding the ethical standard to report truthfully.

v There is need for an ethical body to be established that is empowered to deal
effectively with those editors and writers who lie.

v Hope was expressed that in the same way that doctors, accountants and lawyers
have ethics to guide them, media practitioners should be guided by the ethics of
their own profession.

2.1.2 Training

v Sentiments repeatedly expressed at several venues were that newspapers are
merely preoccupied with making money. Contributors said it appeared that
journalism colleges were teaching journalists to write lies just to make money.
They said they expect that journalists are educated and trained to do their job
properly. They said some newspapers behave as if they are the mouthpieces of
political parties.

v There seems to be a difference between what students are taught in journalism
school and how they execute their duties, once in the newsroom.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 189

v Members of the public demanded that the media report objectively, and follow
through on alleged corruption cases to determine if they are true or partly true at
all, or not true, as well as what action is being taken. Factual details should be
confirmed through investigative reporting.

v It was recommended that journalism training curricula in colleges should be
standardized to include ethics.

v The editors, especially, seem to be in need of training or retraining. One editor
was accused by his readers of an obsession with sex and witchcraft. Editors are
accused of generally pursuing only those stories that they believe will sell their
newspapers.

2.1.3 Content

v The view was expressed on more than one occasion that polarisation affects
industrial development, insofar as the truth builds while lies and
misrepresentation destroy. From a different perspective it was suggested that the
media should let political parties do their own public relations job, while the
media concentrate on informing the public on matters of interest and relevance to
them professionally.

v The privately owned press was not giving the public in Zimbabwe value for their
money. Newspapers were accused of lying. Freedom of press did not mean
alarmist reporting. Most banner headlines on the front pages were crafted merely
for purposes of selling newspaper copies, and not to reflect the reality on the
ground.

v Members of the public also questioned the level of integrity when journalists are
allowed to publish such obscene photographs as are depicted in newspapers such
as H-Metro and the major question raised was what the law says about taking
photographs of people without their consent, especially when they are naked, and
publishing them.

v Newspapers such as H-Metro should focus on publishing productive stories
instead of concentrating on spying on people's private lives.

v The Daily News of the 1950s was described as a good paper that supported the
nationalist cause and the development of the country. The view was repeatedly
expressed that the current The Daily News is politically divisive, and needed to be
reformed. The radical view was expressed several times that The Daily News,
alongside H-Metro and the Voice of Americas Studio 7 should be banned.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 190

v ZBC must ask viewers what they want to watch, while radio stations ask the
public what they want to listen to. There was a wholesale demand for community
stations, which listeners can have access to.

v People said they wanted journalism that looks at national issues without pushing
political positions. ZBC must tell the public the truth because journalism ethics are
all about telling the truth. They must not abuse the public by playing jingles that
are one-sided politically.

v ZBC is asking people to pay $50 licences when the service they are offering is not
worth that much. The public receives biased reporting. People said even $5 is too
much for the quality of service that the public is getting.

v People asked for more developmental reporting, and said they want to read news
about the economy. There is little reporting on how or why Zimbabwes industry
is dying. There is need to move away from propaganda reporting to reporting the
reality on the ground, that unemployment is on the increase because industry is
dying.

v Some members of the public spoke on the need for what they termed patriotic
reportage.

v The content of some TV programmes was not suitable for viewing by children.
There is nothing educational about some of the rather obscene scenes shown.
Others said the language used in the media must deter children from being
naughty.

v Newspapers must correctly reflect issues affecting the community without
sensationalism or exaggeration. Even with issues to do with women, there is much
sensationalising, leading to some women pursuing wrong practices, only because
the papers will have emphasised certain behavioural aspects, including those that
deviate from our cultural norms. Parents who discipline their children in a manner
consistent with cultural norms are accused by the media of child abuse.

v There is need for more positive coverage of women, especially achievers such as
business people and female politicians. Most news about women is negative. Some
newspapers expose women in situations that are denigrating or downgrading of
them.

v The view was repeatedly expressed that there is need to treat people living with
disabilities as equal members in society and not exclude them from debate in the
media.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 191

v An IMPI meeting at Dema Business Centre in the Seke District of Mashonaland
East was told that it is common practice for news crews to solicit the views of only
three people at the centre and then present the views as representing the
sentiments of the entire population of Seke District. Yet such views were not
representative of the population, especially when community leaders were not
consulted.

v Seke District is not too far away from Harare so journalists should be able to cover
events more adequately or correctly from Harare, instead of relying on hearsay
before proceeding to misrepresent to the public. A suggestion was made that there
should be resident journalists in the area.

v Such a view was echoed in other provinces where it was proposed that media
organisations should join forces to establish information centres at district level.
Reporters representing different media organisations would operate from there,
while members of the public could access newspapers, radio, television and the
internet there.
In fact, while IMPI was in the middle of its Outreach Programme, President Robert
Mugabe officially opened one such media centre at Murombedzi Growth Point in
Mashonaland West.

v Journalists were accused of not covering all artists fairly, of being biased towards
musicians and being ignorant on the broadness of the arts sector. Not all artists are
musicians, it was pointed out, and there was need for other areas of entertainment
to be covered by the media as well.

2.1.4 Working Conditions

v There should be standards to guide and protect journalists and especially editors
so they are not vulnerable to influence or payment from powerful and rich
citizens. Journalists are not highly paid and therefore become susceptible to
bribery by influential people. Minimum standards for conditions of service should
be established through the Ministry of Information and Media Panel of Inquiry or
the Zimbabwe Media Commission.

v The view was widely expressed that perhaps poor working conditions are a cause
of polarisation in the media. Journalists need to be paid decent salaries in order to
reduce the incidence of brown envelope journalism.

v There is a need for an employment council for journalists so that they are not
lumped together with other employment councils.

v There should be a Sexual Harassment Charter to protect female journalists.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 192

2.1.5 Media Business

v People in politics must not own media organisations because there is conflict of
interest, especially where they exercise their influence. There are business
opportunities in the media but the major problem is corruption. Once Zimbabwe
rids itself of the cancer of corruption then it will be easier to address other
problems afflicting the media.

v It was stated that because of recent media reforms there are now too many
newspapers and they are struggling to sell copies, resulting in some resorting to
political partisanship in favour of one political party or another.

v It was a publicly expressed expectation that media practitioners must be employed
on merit, not party affiliation. People said they expect leaders of media
organisations to be professionals who are qualified to do their job.

v Journalists come out of college with a good grounding in ethics but the media
houses introduce them to new unethical standards, which they accept with little
resistance because their bread is buttered by their employers.

v A view was expressed that journalists appear to be well-trained but behave as if
they are programmed, once they are employed.

2.2 Statistical Analysis From Outreach Sessions and Focus Groups

The Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) undertook a country-wide review of
the state of the information and media industry in Zimbabwe to generate baseline
information that would inform policy interventions to improve the sector going forward.
As part of the methodology, the 10 administrative provincesof Zimbabwe provided the
population space from which respondents were sampled.

A total of 2,319.participants were sampled for the Thematic Focus Group Outreach
sessions, as shown in Table 1.


Table 1 Training Capacity Building And Ethics
Mat Mat Bulawayo Mash Mash Mash Manicaland Masvingo Midlands Harare
North South Metro East West Central Metro
Males 57 104 94 132 289 283 150 500 176 1785
Females 46 20 75 34 101 187 9 62 534
TOTALS 103 124 169 166 390 0 470 159 500 238 2319

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 193

This global statistical analysis is based on the Outreach Sessions and buttressed by an
analysis of primary data generated through questionnaires. Analysis of the questionnaires
provides a disaggregated picture to dramatise the behaviour of the variables under
investigation. This should further characterise and dramatise the feedback from the
Outreach Sessions.

Using triangulation, the feedback from the Outreach is analysed together with that from
stakeholder meetings (primary data), and buttressed by that from secondary data
(literature review) for a complete picture. This analysis straddles across qualitative and
quantitative data to provide an objectively balanced picture of the subject under review.

A total of 26 Focus Group meetings were held across the provinces (to generate primary
data on the Theme: Training, Capacity Building and Ethics in the Media, that were
attended by 2,319 participants as shown under Table 1 above. Of these participants 23%
were females (534) and 77% (1,785) were males. This distribution of participation at the
meetings reflects that gender representation is an important consideration when it comes
to the media, and one can infer that males dominate interest in this regard.

It could also be explained by the fact that there may not have been adequate publicity of
the IMPI survey and its objectives to garner much interest from females. This though,
could emphasise a gap in the media sector that females maybe undersold to the
significance of media in the socio-economic and political landscape of Zimbabwe,
implying an opportunity for strategies to actively engage females in the media sector.

Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo Provinces accounted for 58.6% of the participants,
with each accounting for 21.6% (500), 20.2% (470), and 16.8% (390) respectively.

2.2.1 Further Review of Primary Data


Apart from the Outreach Sessions, the primary information generated from
questionnaires distributed to media personnel in Bulawayo, Harare, Manicaland,
Matebeleland South, and Midlands Provinces also provides more information on training,
capacity and ethics related issues. The analysis is focused on 151 questionnaires that were
completed for the exercise and depicted below under Figure 1.

2.2.2 Ethics
The media are a strategic tool for economic development, and as such, journalism as a
profession should uphold high degrees of professionalism to ensure objective and
balanced reportage. Thus, media professionalism and ethics/morals are related
phenomena that are key in moulding an informative media, and a building block towards
sustainable human development in Zimbabwe.

According to findings from the questionnaires, the probability of obtaining a media
student who does not adhere to media ethics is 60 percent, implying that for every 10
students who graduate, six will not adhere to media ethics in their tour of duty.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 194

The survey dramatised the relationship between the quality of journalistic tuition
represented by rating lecturers on a scale of average capacity to excellent, and the study
reveals that regardless of how good a lecturer is, the student will not adhere to media
ethics if he or she does not have full interest in the media profession.

In other words, there is no correlation between the quality of journalistic tuition and
adherence to media ethics once the student leaves school.

It was further observed that interest alone can have a bearing on the possibility of
students upholding ethical journalist conduct, than such morality being triggered by a
lecturers effort.
Figure 1 shows the relationship between payment (bribe), lies and a lecturers way of
providing tuition.
Figure 1 Relation between Bribes, Falsehoods and Lectureship Approach

The results show that the lecturer`s personal (professional) abilities also have a bearing on
the reduction of false reporting by the students trained. Yet, regardless of the formers
effort, if the student receives an incentive (bribe) to write a story, he or she will not follow
any ethical conduct in his/her reportage, and hence will propagate lies in his or her
writing. It is therefore, quite apparent that false stories are a result of the bribes, and an
appetite for money, and not necessarily due to poor training as dramatised by the
findings of the survey.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 195

3 SOME CHALLENGES FOR PROFESSIONAL STANDARDS
OF JOURNALISM IN ZIMBABWE
_____________________________

Information and communication play a formative role in the personal life of citizens and
their society, thus media practitioners have an ethical responsibility, in addition to legal
rights and obligations. A basic principle is that a clear distinction must be made between
news and opinion. News should be based on facts and data presented, and well-informed
sources that are reliable and identifiable. Rumours should not be confused with news.
Opinion should convey thoughts, ideas and analysis on the part of the writer. The inquiry
found that in practice, this distinction is not clear in most of the media in Zimbabwe, and
the responsibility for accurate articles that are factual is not a primary consideration.

The reasons given for this were many, but the key factor that emerged is the lack of
appropriate media training that is ethics-based. Therefore many writers in the media are
not familiar with professional ethics, standards and responsibilities. In other cases, the
distortion may be deliberate. Given the power of visual images, care should be taken to
ensure that news broadcasting is facts-based with appropriate means of verification and
presentation, and the Inquiry found extensive public disquiet about the content of the
national broadcaster, ZBC.

Headlines in newspapers and television were an issue that was raised often. News
headlines and summaries should reflect as closely as possible the substance of facts and
data presented.

Generally, the response to radio was more positive, with people expressing their opinion
that radio, both public and private, does not sensationalise as much as newspapers and
television, and so they are more inclined to believe what they hear on radio. When
pressed for reasons, the response was that because it is so easy to switch to another station
radio broadcasters have to find other non-sensational methods of attracting attention and
retaining the interest of their audiences, such as good music or sports or current affairs
discussions.

Those who have access to internet tend to place it in this category as well, having more
confidence in the information accessed than for newspapers or television. Several reasons
given for this include that they think they are accessing the information themselves, rather
than through a third party, especially for social media.

Other challenges to professional standards of journalism in Zimbabwe include the


pervasive use of unnamed and anonymous sources and analysts. Good journalism
requires that a reporter creates a network of knowledgeable, reliable and credible sources
of information. A journalist can only be as good as his or her sources of information.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 196

The most desirable and best sources are those who can be identified by name by the
journalist. Although there could be occasional exceptions to this rule, the reporters should
not extend guarantees of anonymity to all sources in exchange for sensitive or sensational
information, because continued use of unidentified sources may suggest that the reporter
invented the source. In some cases sources may request that their identity should not
disclosed for genuine reasons. Even then the identity of such sources cannot be ethically
regarded as confidential from editors. Editors carry the responsibility of publishing
articles. Quite often their decision whether or not to publish an article depends on their
assessment of the credibility of the sources of information.

Zimbabwean newspapers have become notorious for publishing articles crafted on the
basis of information supplied by sources who refuse to be identified even when they
supply innocuous information. The credibility of a newspaper depends to a considerable
extent on how readers assess the quality of the sources of information. Credibility suffers
when reporters rely heavily on unnamed sources, who are not easily recognizable as
experts or knowledgeable on the subjects on which they speak or disclose information,
especially sensitive or controversial information. Credibility is reinforced when sources
willingly agree to be associated by name and occupation with their opinions or
pronouncements on newsworthy events.

Reliance on unnamed sources can undermine or damage the credibility of a newspaper by


over-using the following phrases:
said a senior insider said the source said a close ally
unnamed sources said the source declined to give a name
the source who asked to remain anonymous a provincial youth leader
...highly placed sources in the party [or government] said

One thread runs through this collection of allegedly reliable sources they are all
anonymous.

Political reporting is one category of journalism which ultimately contributes to
polarisation and conflict. It has potential for begetting violence on Zimbabwes political
landscape. Articles are often crammed with the opinions of journalists masquerading as
the opinions of unidentified sources. This is tantamount to gross misrepresentation, which
is unethical journalism. Speaking to Bulawayo editors at a function hosted in September,
2014, by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ), board member, Tapfuma
Machakaire, said journalists should desist from taking positions in support of individual
politicians of political parties.
The journalists should avoid becoming political players themselves, he said. We
now see articles quoting unnamed sources and I am saying to you as editors, beware
of being sold dummies by your reporters.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 197

Another weakness of Zimbabwean newspaper journalism is over-reliance on so-called
analysts, as sources, and treatment of their analyses as factual news, especially in political
reporting. In many cases there is nothing in the body of the article that supports the
screaming headline under which stories are published.

Instead of quoting reliable sources, preferably identifiable, to develop the story


highlighted by the headline, reporters turn to the utterances of analysts, some with no
identifiable connection to or expertise in the subject under discussion. A popular but
dismaying ploy in some newspapers is to sell a banner headline as the utterance of an
official source when they may be articulating a personal view. It is only on reaching the
end of the article that disappointed readers realise that they have been sold yet another
bogus story by reporters and their editors. Sadly this realisation occurs only after readers
have sacrificed their hard-earned dollar to buy the newspaper instead of buying lunch.

An eye-catching, banner headline can have newspaper readers scrambling to buy a copy,
even though it is deliberately misleading or mischievous. The headline serves as a fine
example of the gross misrepresentation that Zimbabwean newspaper readers have
become accustomed to encounter every morning in their newspapers; headlines designed
to lure them into buying newspapers expecting to read the latest episode of a currently
very topical issue only to discover to their utter dismay that the story appearing below the
sensational headline is crafted on a totally different issue altogether. In other words,
copies of a newspaper are sold in large numbers through cunning and wilful
misrepresentation.

Misrepresentation, which is often coupled with sensational headlines has become an


unfortunate phenomenon of Zimbabwes journalism and a cause of constant frustration
among newspaper readers who have sadly become accustomed to the realization that the
stories appearing on the front pages of Zimbabwes various newspapers do not always
bear any resemblance to the sexy headlines below which they are printed.

The fact that there is a dearth of meaningful, serious, interesting or relevant news is no
excuse for journalists to cheat the public into buying media products on false pretence.
This is especially so when the perception that there is a scarcity of hard news of interest
and relevance to Zimbabweans is based on a misunderstanding of the expectations of the
public, as the IMPI Outreach Programme discovered, wherever it held meetings. It was
suggested that a pre-occupation with politics was one of the causes of the decline in
newspaper sales and radio listenership or television viewership.

The view was expressed during various meetings that journalists should veer off the
beaten track of constant coverage of the conflict between government and opposition
politicians. Reporters were repeatedly enjoined, even by rural newspaper readers and
radio listeners that they have interests outside the politics of the capital city. Such
interests encompass stories of local developments, achievements, sport, entertainment
and education, to mention some.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 198

Citizen Journalism is an emerging issue that should be considered seriously. This has been
largely ignored despite the fact that it has overtaken mainstream media with several
consequences on the definition of the role of media. Examples include platforms on websites
enabling video feeds, voice-overs regularly updated with contributions from citizen
journalists, whose information may or may not be factual. Because there have been no
measures put in place to monitor the type of postings made on these sites, it is difficult to
control the citizen journalist as well as the thousands of viewers with access to the news
posted on the platforms.

Does citizen journalism have ethics


and professional standards?

!
While Africa is lagging behind in terms of technological advancements, the challenge of
citizen journalism lurks and will catch up, thus there is need to come up with effective ways
to manage it. This also raises a lot of ethical concerns if the media fails to control it. The
rise of citizen journalism serves as a rude awakening for journalists because if the stories are
now coming from the audiences, it should indicate an inherent problem with the present way
that news is being covered and disseminated to the audiences.

There has been a tendency by journalists to assume that they know what people want to hear
yet they hardly find out the real issues appealing to the audiences. If this is not addressed,
then citizen journalists will take over the media platform regardless of the minimal
journalistic training they may have. However, it was also observed that there may be need to
look for the opportunities arising from the technological advancements shaping news
coverage. The media should find a way of adopting the platforms in a positive manner for
development purposes. This may be a challenge for the websites as some stories may be
uploaded before the required verifications are made.

Furthermore the emergence of citizen journalism shows an equally emerging irrelevance of


journalists since everyone has taken over in expressing their opinions. If the profession is
going to withstand the challenge, then journalists must perfect their skills to distinguish
themselves from non-skilled journalists. It is the existing training gap within the media that
has allowed the citizen journalists to take over.

From the Proceedings of a Roundtable of Media Executives from East and Southern Africa on the Challenges,
Prospects, and Opportunities of Media Practice in the African Context, organised by Africa Universitys Institute
for Peace, Leadership and Governance in 2009 and attended by some 20 media executives from public and private
media in 11 countries including Zimbabwe, both print and broadcasting .

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 199
4 CONDUCT AND ETHICS OF
JOURNALISTS AND MEDIA The 1980 UNESCO publication on
____________________________ press councils reflected a general
global agreement on basic moral
Ethics and professional standards are principles of:
applicable to specific challenges faced by
Honesty and fairness;
journalists in disseminating information to the
Duty to seek the views of the
public, often captured in a Code of Ethics first subject of any critical
which contains the principles of truthfulness, reportage in advance of
accuracy, objectivity, impartiality, fairness and publication or broadcast;
public accountability. Duty to correct factual errors;
Duty not to falsify pictures or
Such a code of professional standards normally to use them in a misleading
specifically rules out discrimination on the fashion;
basis of gender, race, religion, or disability, and Duty to provide opportunity
respects the principle of innocent until proven to reply to critical opinions as
well as to critical factual
guilty. The outreach found that readers and
reportage;
audiences generally do not believe that these Respect to p rivacy;
principles are upheld by the media in Duty to distinguish between
Zimbabwe, both print and television. Again, facts, opinions and
radio fared a bit better as it was described as conjecture;
being less sensational. Duty not to discriminate or
inflame hatred on grounds as
See below for Case Studies from Tanzania and race, nationality or gender;
Duty not to use dishonest
Kenya.
means to obtain information
except in special
See end of this chapter for Codes of
circumstances;
Ethics/Conduct: General standards of decency
and taste;
Appendix 7.1 Tanzanian Media Council - Duty not to divulge
Journalists Code of Conduct confidential sources;
Duty not to prejudice the guilt
Appendix 7.2 Code of Ethics of the Media of an accused person and to
Council of Zambia publish the dismissal of
charges against or acquittal of
Appendix 7. 3 Code of Conduct for the Practice of anyone about whom the
Journalism in Kenya paper/TV/ Radio previously
reported that charges had
been filed or that a trial had
commenced.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 200

United Republic of Tanzania Case Study

Tanzania has a vibrant media environment featuring a myriad of publications and a huge
electronic media offering. The country has a self-regulation regime led by the Media Council
of Tanzania (MCT) and keenly supported by the state. The countrys media laws however
stain this progressive self-regulation template. It is hoped that the ongoing constitutional
review process will exorcise the statutes of old colonial laws, among them the 1976
Newspaper Act which is still used to ban newspapers or suspend them from publishing,
ostensibly on security grounds.

While the media scene in the country portrays admirable plurality, there is a dichotomy in
that the multiplicity of media outlets has not necessarily resulted in diversity. Ownership
structures are still very much steeped towards political exponents some of whom have seen it
fit to use their publications as tools in the political power game.
Before 1991, there was only one daily newspaper, Daily News (and its Sunday edition,
Sunday News), which was owned by the government. There were two radio stations in Dar es
Salaam, that is Radio Tanzania Dar es Salaam (RTD) Baraza la Muziki la Taifa
(BAMAUTA), both broadcasting Tanzanian music and promoting Tanzanian musicians, in
addition to the national broadcaster, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation. The country had

no television station until 1994.

Now there are at least 90 radio stations and 15 TV stations which mostly broadcast in
kiSwahili. KiSwahili is also the pre-dominant language in the print media, with only three
newspapers publishing in English. The growth in the number of media outlets exposed a
skills deficit as there was only one institution which was training journalists at the time.
There have been concerted efforts to address the skilling of journalists as the number of
tertiary institutions training journalists increasing exponentially over the last 20 years.

The poor quality of graduates remains a major cause for concern for the employers. The
government together with the Media Council of Tanzania have been working on a standard
curriculum in a bid to improve skills. Generally, the media in the country are sensitive to
religious issues and have steered clear of fomenting religious conflict. The people of
Tanzania have also coalesced around a common language and values. There is still robust
debate on social issues, the economy and the succession in the ruling party.

The issue of ethics has caused acrimony between media practitioners and the authorities, who
usually dont take time to wield the axe, and justify their action by citing national security
concerns. The private media dig in and blame leadership whom they accuse of rarely
responding to questions forwarded to them to balance articles.

In trying to bring sanity to the industry, government met players in the media fraternity in
1995 to set up the Media Council of Tanzania that became fully operational in 1997. Among
its various responsibilities, the MCT has an Ethics Committee whose doctrines are premised
on the 1980 UNESCO publication of press councils that adopted a worldwide general
agreement on basic moral principles.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 201

Media Council of Kenya Case Study

The Media Council of Kenya (MCK) is a statutory body established by the Media Council Act No. 20 of
2013 as the lead institution in the regulation of media and the conduct and discipline of journalists. The
Council started as a self-regulating body in 2004 to regulate media industry in Kenya but transited through
the Media Act 2007 and adopted a co-regulation approach to media regulation. The board members and
secretariat of the Council, while receiving government funds to support some of their activities, remain
very independent in their operations.

Media freedom and freedom of expression, and the principles of open and independent media that
promotes accountability in the governance process underlay the media regulation process at the Council.
The rights and privileges of journalists are protected while professionalism and accountability of media
workers is upheld. Training on the Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism is a major activity
while dispute resolution by the Complaints Commission of the Media Council ensures that the public have
the opportunity to raise complaints against the conduct and behaviour of journalists and media houses. The
Council receives modest funding from the government while at the same time it levies media houses and
individual journalists. The funds are used in running the several activities undertaken by the MCK.

Vision A professional and free media accountable to the public


Mission To safeguard media freedom, enhance professionalism and arbitrate media disputes
Core Values 1. Integrity 2. Independence 3. Professionalism 4. Transparency and Accountability

Councils Role, Mandate, Functions and Authority


The Council draws its mandate and authority from the Media Act 2013. Its functions are to:
Promote and protect the freedom and independence of the media;
Prescribe standards of journalists, media practitioners and media enterprises;
Ensure the protection of the rights and privileges of journalists in the performance of their duties;
Promote and enhance ethical and professional standards amongst journalists and media enterprises;
Advise the government or the relevant regulatory authority on matters relating to professional,
education and the training of journalists and other media practitioners;
Set standards, in consultation with the relevant training institutions, for professional education and
training of journalists;
Develop and regulate ethical and disciplinary standards for journalists, media practitioners and media
enterprises;
Accredit local journalists and foreign journalists by certifying their competence, authority or credibility
against official standards based on the quality and training of journalists in Kenya including the
maintaining of a register of journalists, media enterprises and such other related registers as it may
deem fit and issuance of such document evidencing accreditation with the Council as the Council shall
determine;
Conduct an annual review of the performance and the general public opinion of the media, and publish
the results in at least two daily newspapers of national circulation;
Through the Cabinet Secretary, table before Parliament reports on its functions;
Establish media standards and regulate and monitor compliance with the media standards;
Facilitate resolution of disputes between the government and the media and between the public and the
media and intra media;
Compile and maintain a register of accredited journalists, foreign journalists, media enterprises and
such other related registers as it may consider necessary;
Subject to any other written law, consider and approve applications for accreditation by educational
institutions that seek to offer courses in journalism; and
Perform such other functions as may be assigned to it under any other written law.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 202

Media Council of Kenya -- Comparisons and Lessons for Zimbabwe

Media Council of Kenya Zimbabwe Media Council/VMCZ

Single regulatory body Adopt a single regulatory body by merging the Zimbabwe
Media Commission and Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe.

Co-regulation model Adopt a co-regulatory model that encompasses the


principles of both self and statutory regulation as opposed
to the antagonistic approach that exists in Zimbabwe
between the media (both public and private) and the
statutory authority. A co-regulatory model will ensure that
the interests of all parties are promoted and safeguarded.

Training and safeguarding the The ZMC and VMCZ dont play a statutory role in setting
principles and professional conduct of the standards of journalism in Zimbabwe or helping to
journalism develop journalism training curricula as well as
monitoring schools that offer courses, diplomas or degrees
in journalism.

Appointment of MCK board members Political appointments for the ZMC should be abolished
by the media industry so that key media stakeholders appoint their own
representatives.

Appointment of an Independent An amalgamated ZMC and VMCZ should set up an


Complaints Commission headed by a independent complaints commission that should be able to
former judge of the High Court arbitrate all cases and complaints to do with media
infringements.

The current Kenyan president, key No high profile cases have been tried or arbitrated by
ministers and commissioners of police either the ZMC or VMCZ.
have appeared before the commission.
Defence of media freedom Verbal

Political ownership of media houses Same

Scrapped television licensing ZBC collects radio and television licence revenue while
ZMC levies media houses

Funded by the exchequer, levies Similar funding models but with no benefits accruing to
media houses and individual media houses, journalists or the profession.
journalists.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 203

5 CODE OF CONDUCT DEVELOPED BY THE
VOLUNTARY MEDIA COUNCIL OF ZIMBABWE

The following Code of Conduct for Zimbabwe Media Practitioners has been submitted to
IMPI by the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe. What the VMCZ calls the Code of
Conduct for Zimbabwes Media Practitioners is in fact a Code of Ethics to guide the
practice of journalism in the country.

A Code of Conduct guides the employment terms for employees of an organisation, while
the Code of Ethics is a set of standards that guide the practice of journalism, which is
what the following document seeks to do. To call the document a Code of Conduct is
therefore a misnomer. Different media organisations can have different Codes of Conduct
but one Code of Ethics should provide the standard of professional practice for all
journalists.

This document is voluntary and is not enforced, even by publications that have agreed to
it, but provides the basis for discussion of an agreed national Code of Ethics.

Code of Conduct/Ethics for Zimbabwe Media Practitioners

The purpose of this Code is to provide a set of common professional standards of conduct for
media practitioners and media institutions in Zimbabwe.

Media practitioners and media institutions should abide by these standards, and the public is
entitled to expect that they will do so. There should be a remedy for those harmed by media
conduct that violates these standards. This Code will be applied and enforced by the Media
Complaints Committee.

1. Interpretation
In this Code:
media institution means any institution in Zimbabwe, whether in the public or
private sector, that disseminates news to the public through the medium of a newspaper
and/or other written and electronic publication or through electronic broadcasting
media practitioner means a reporter, editor, radio and television programme
producer and presenter employed by a media institution or a freelance reporter or columnist
who is a stringer or writes columns for a media institution

2. Application
This Code will govern the conduct of media practitioners and media institutions that have
agreed to be bound by this Code and to submit to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe.

3. General standards
a) Media practitioners must maintain the highest professional and ethical standards. They
must carry out their functions of informing, educating and entertaining the public
professionally and responsibly.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 204

b) Media practitioners must defend the principle of the freedom of the media to freely access,
collect and disseminate information and to publish comments and criticisms. They must
oppose censorship, suppression of news and dissemination of propaganda.

4. Accuracy and fairness
a) Media practitioners and media institutions must report and interpret the news with
scrupulous honesty and must take all reasonable steps to ensure that they disseminate
accurate information and that they depict events fairly and without distortion.
b) Media practitioners and media institutions must never publish information that they
know to be false or maliciously make unfounded allegations about others that are intended to
harm their reputations.
(c) When compiling reports media practitioners must check their facts and the editors and
publishers of newspapers and other media must take proper care not to publish inaccurate
material. Before a media institution publishes a report, the reporter and the editor must
ensure that all the steps that a reasonable, competent media practitioner would take to check
its accuracy have in fact been taken.
(d) Special care must be taken to check the accuracy of stories that may cause harm to
individuals or organisations or to the public interest. Before publishing a story of alleged
wrongdoing, all reasonable steps must be taken to ascertain the response of the alleged
wrongdoer to the allegations. Any response from that person must be published together
with the report setting out the allegations where possible.
(e) Media institutions must endeavour to provide full, fair and balanced reports of events
and must not suppress essential information pertaining to those events. They must not
distort information by exaggeration, by giving only one side of a story, by placing improper
emphasis on one aspect of a story, by reporting the facts out of the context in which they
occurred or by suppressing relevant available facts. They must avoid using misleading
headlines or billboard postings.

5. Correction of inaccuracy or distortion
(a) If a media institution discovers that it has published a report containing a significant
inaccuracy or distortion of the facts, it must publish a correction at the earliest possible
opportunity and with comparable prominence.
(b) If a media institution discovers that it has published an erroneous report that has
caused harm to the reputation of a person or institution, it must publish an apology promptly
and with due prominence.
(c) A media institution must report fairly and accurately the outcome of an action for
defamation against it.

6. Right of reply
Where a person or organisation believes that a media report contains inaccurate information
or has unfairly criticised the person or organisation, the media institution concerned must
give the person or organisation a fair opportunity to reply so as to enable that person or
organisation to correct any inaccuracies and respond to criticism.

7. Comment
a) A clear separation should be made between fact and comment or opinion.
b) A comment or expression of opinion must be a genuine and honest comment or
expression of opinion relating to established fact.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 205

c) Comment or conjecture must not be presented in such a way as to create the
impression that it is established fact.

8. Bribes and inducements
Media practitioners and media institutions must not publish or suppress a report or omit or
alter vital facts in return for payment of money or for any other gift or reward.

9. Pressure or influence
Media practitioners and media institutions must not suppress or distort information which
the public has a right to know because of pressure or influence from their advertisers or
others who have a corporate, political or advocacy interest in the media institution
concerned.

10. Hatred or violence
a) Media practitioners and media institutions must not publish material that is intended or is
likely to engender hostility or hatred towards persons on the grounds of their race, ethnic
origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, physical disability, religion or political
affiliation.
b) Media institutions must take utmost care to avoid contributing to the spread of ethnic
hatred or political violence.

11. Reporting of elections
a) Media practitioners and media institutions must report on elections in a fair and balanced
manner.
b) Before reporting a damaging allegation made against a candidate or a political party, a
media practitioner should obtain, wherever possible, a comment from the candidate or party
against whom the allegation has been made especially where the allegation has been made
by an opposing candidate or an opposing political party.
c) A media practitioner or media institution must not accept any gift, reward or inducement
from a politician or candidate.
d) As far as possible, a media practitioner or media institution should report the views of
candidates and political parties directly and in their own words, rather than as they are
described by others.
e) A journalist must take care in reporting the findings of opinion polls. Any report should
wherever possible include details about the methodology used in conducting the survey and
by whom it was conducted.

12. Reporting of police investigations and criminal court cases
a) In our law a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The
media must therefore refrain from publishing articles prejudging the outcome in criminal
cases or seeking to influence the outcome of the cases.
b) Media institutions are entitled to inform the public about the arrest of suspects by the
police and the trial of persons accused of crimes. They should not, however, publish the
names of suspects until the police have filed formal charges against them, unless it is in the
public interest to do so before formal criminal charges are laid.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 206

c) Where a media institution has begun to report a criminal case, it must follow up and report
subsequent developments. For example, it is grossly unfair to report that a person has been
charged with murder and then fail to report that the person was acquitted. The report of the
subsequent developments must be given due prominence.

13. Privacy
a) It is normally wrong for a media practitioner to intrude into and to report upon a persons
private life without his or her consent.
b) Reporting on a persons private life can only be justified when it is in the public interest to
do so. This would include:
(i) detecting or exposing criminal conduct;
(ii) detecting or exposing seriously anti-social conduct;
(iii) protecting public health and safety;
(iv) preventing the public from being misled by some statement or action of that
individual, such as where a person is doing something in private which he or she is
publicly condemning.
c) Media practitioners may probe and publish details about the private moral behaviour of
a public official where this conduct has a bearing upon his/her suitability as a public official.

14. Intrusions into grief or shock
a) In cases involving personal grief or shock, enquiries should be carried out and approaches
made with sympathy and tact.
b) Media practitioners or photographers making enquiries at hospitals or similar institutions
should normally identify themselves to a responsible official and obtain permission before
entering non-public areas.

15. Interviewing or photographing children
a) Media practitioners should not interview or photograph children under the age of sixteen
in the absence of, or without the consent of, a parent or adult who is responsible for the
children.
b) In interviewing and photographing children in difficult circumstances or with disabilities,
special sensitivity and sympathy must be used.
c) Children should not be approached or photographed while at school, creche or similar
institution without the permission of the appropriate authorities.

16. Children in criminal cases
Media institutions must not publish the names of any person under sixteen arrested by the
police or tried in the criminal courts.

17. Victims of crime
Media institutions must not identify victims of sexual assaults or publish material likely to
contribute to such identification unless the victim has consented to such publication or the
law authorised them to do so.
18. Innocent relatives and friends
Media institutions should generally avoid identifying relatives or friends of persons
convicted or accused of crime unless the reference to them is necessary for the full, fair and
accurate reporting of the crime or the legal proceedings.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 207

19. Surreptitious gathering of information
a) Media practitioners should use open methods of gathering information in which they
clearly identify themselves as media practitioners. Generally they should not obtain or seek
to obtain information or pictures through surreptitious methods such as misrepresentation,
deception, subterfuge or undercover technique.
b) Surreptitious methods of information gathering may only be used where open methods
have failed to yield information in what is public interest. These methods may thus be
employed where, for example, they will help to detect or expose criminal activity or will
bring to light information that will protect the public against serious threats to public health
or safety.

20. National Security
a) Media institutions must not prejudice the legitimate national security interests of
Zimbabwe or place at risk members of the Defence Forces who are on active military duty.
b) This provision does not prevent the media from exposing corruption in the security or
defence agencies or from commenting upon levels of expenditure on defence.

21. Plagiarism
Media practitioners must not engage in plagiarism. Plagiarism consists of making use of
another persons words, pictures or ideas without permission and without proper
acknowledgement and attribution of the source of those words, pictures or ideas.

22. Protection of Sources
a) Where a person has agreed to supply information only on condition that his or her identity
remains confidential and the media practitioner agrees to this condition, the media
practitioner must respect this undertaking and refuse to reveal the identity of the source.
b) However, the media practitioner may tell the source that his or her identity might have to
be revealed if it becomes clear in court that this information is needed to prevent or expose
serious criminal conduct.________________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 208

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
6 RECOMMENDATIONS ON
INQUIRY
ETHICS AND STANDARDS OF

PROFESSIONAL JOURNALISM

6.1 A comprehensive Code of Ethics is needed for the media and should stipulate and
enforce how journalists behave. There was consensus during the outreach that there
should be a national Code of Ethics that all journalists should be bound by.

6.2 The minimum standards in ensuring balance, fairness and best practice should be
set out clearly and members of the public recommended that media workers must
take an oath that they will uphold the ethics of the profession.

6.3 Established organisations such as the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe


(VMCZ), the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF), the National Union of
Journalists (ZUJ) and the Federation of African Media Women (FAMWZ) in Zimbabwe
should make strong input into the formulation of the national Code of Ethics that
should demonstrate the commitment of journalists and media stakeholders to ethics
and professionalism in the way they report issues in the public interest. Included in
this chapter is a draft from the VMCZ regarding best practices that can strengthen
the industry, and the codes from three other countries are appended.

6.4 The Code of Ethics will also address issues of corruption within the profession, as
manifested by the allegedly widespread practice of brown envelope journalism.
Journalists should be paid decent salaries as poor working conditions may
contribute to envelopism.

6.5 There should be national standards to guide and protect journalists, especially
editors, so that they are not vulnerable to influence from moneyed people,
including advertisers, business people, politicians, promoters and entertainers.

6.6 In the same way that doctors, accountants and lawyers have ethical standards to
guide them, media practitioners should be guided by the ethics of their own
profession. Ethics should be the foundation of media training.

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 209

7 APPENDIX
_____________

7.1 Tanzanian Media Council Journalists Code of Conduct

A code of conduct adopted by the Media Council of Tanzania, a voluntary non-statutory body whose
task is to ensure the highest professional standards. The Codes are enshrined the Constitution of the
Association of Journalists and the Media Workers and Tanzania Journalists Association (TAJA).

Article 1 The Right to Truth

(a) Every journalist has a duty to tell, adhere to, adore and faithfully defend, the truth.
(b) A journalist shall make adequate inquiries, do crosschecking of facts in order to provide the
public with unbiased, accurate, balanced, comprehensive information/news.

Article 2 Professional Integrity

A journalist should not solicit, nor accept bribes or any form of inducement meant to bend or influence
professional performance.

Article 3 Non-Disclosure of Source

A journalist should not disclose sources of information given in confidence.

Article 4 Social Responsibility

A journalist shall, in collection and dissemination of information, bear in mind his/her responsibility to
the public which means to educate citizens and others on matters affecting them and their
surroundings, and consistently strive to put ahead of others, matters of public and national interest.

Article 5 Respect for Human Dignity

(a) A journalist should avoid violation of individual privacy and human dignity unless such violation is
done for a provable public interest.
(b) A journalist should guard against libel, slander and defamation in general.
(c) A journalist should respect and consistently work for attainment of human rights and fuller
freedom.

Article 6 Discrimination

A journalist should not engage in publication, directly or indirectly or by implication, of stories,


information, photos that injure, or discriminate against anybody for his/her colour, religion, origin or
sex.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 210

Article 7 Identity and the Underdog

(a) A journalist should not open to ridicule the underdog including minors, the old, the bereaved and
any other underprivileged persons or communities.
(b) A journalist should avoid identifying victims of sexual assault unless the victim is dead and that a
journalist secure consent from a living victim.

Article 8 Facts and Comments

(a) A journalist should always draw a clear line between comment, conjecture and fact.
(b) A journalist should not plagiarise and where others material is used credit should be given to
source.

Article 9 Sensationalism

Sensationalism is mainly inherent in stories but a journalist must guard against highlighting incidents
out of context, either in headlines or in reportage/narration.

Article 10 Correction and Right of Reply

(a) Any warranted correction must be done promptly and with due prominence.
(b) Apologies should be published whenever appropriate and accorded due prominence.
(c) An individual, group, organisation who disputes a published report should be given an
opportunity to reply.

Article 11 Working Together

Journalists should work together in safeguarding this Code of Ethics which is applicable to members in
the state-owned media, private media and local freelance journalists. ________________________




7.2 Zambia Code Code of Ethics of the Media Council


Explanatory note
The purpose of distributing news and informed opinion is to serve the general welfare. Journalists
who use their professional status as representatives of the public for selfish or other unworthy
motives violate a high trust. Journalists uphold the right to speak unpopular opinions and privilege
to agree with the majority while at the same time respecting the will of the minority. A journalist
shall at all times defend the principle of the freedom of the press in relation to the collection of
information and the expression of comment and criticism. Council members therefore agree to
abide by the following ethics.


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 211

Code of ethics
1/ The public has the right to know the truth. Therefore journalists have a duty to report the
truth either as representing objective reality or representing what the source says fairly,
accurately and objectively.
2/ Newspaper headlines should be fully warranted by the contents of the articles they
accompany. Photographs and telecasts should give an accurate picture of an event and
not highlight an incident out of context.
3/ Journalists should respect the confidentiality of sources to whom they have pledged
anonymity.
4/ Only fair methods should be used to obtain news, photographs and documents except
where overriding public interest justifies the use of other means.
5/ Journalists should regard as grave professional offence, the acceptance of bribes in any
form in consideration of either dissemination or suppression of information.
6/ Journalists shall rectify promptly any harmful inaccuracies, ensure that correction and
apologies receive due prominence and afford the right of reply to persons criticised when
the issue is of sufficient importance.
7/ Journalists shall be aware of the danger of discrimination being furthered by the media,
and shall do the utmost to avoid facilitating such discrimination based on among other
things, race, sex, religious, political or other opinions of national or social origins.
8/ Secondary employment, political involvement, holding public office, and service in
community organisations should be avoided if it compromises the integrity of journalists
and their employers.
Journalists and their employers should conduct their personal lives in a manner that
protects them from conflict of interest, real or apparent. Their responsibilities to the
public are paramount.
9/ Plagiarism is dishonest and unacceptable.
10/ Journalists must respect the moral and cultural values of the Zambian society. Journalists
should respect peoples privacy unless when public interest demands otherwise.
________________


7.3 Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism in Kenya



Preamble
As the leading institution in the regulation of media and in the conduct and discipline of
journalists in Kenya, one of major functions of the Media Council of Kenya is to promote high
professional standards amongst journalists. Besides promoting and protecting freedom and
independence of the media, the Council also works to promote ethical standards among
journalists and in the media. The Code of Conduct for the Practice of Journalism as entrenched in
the Second Schedule of the Media Act 2013 governs the conduct and practice of all media
practitioners in the country.

Interpretation
In this code of conduct "a person subject to this Act" means a journalist, media practitioner,
foreign journalist or media enterprise.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 212

Accuracy and fairness

1. A person subject to this Act shall write a fair, accurate and an unbiased story on matters of
public interest.
All sides of the story shall be reported, wherever possible.
2. Comments shall be sought from anyone who is mentioned in an unfavourable context and
evidence of such attempts to seek the comments shall be kept.
3. Whenever it is recognized that an inaccurate, misleading or distorted story has been
published or broadcast, it shall be corrected promptly.
4. Corrections shall present the correct information and shall not restate the error except
when clarity demands.
5. An apology that results from the determination of the Council shall be published or
broadcast whenever appropriate in such manner as the Council may specify.
6. A correction under this paragraph shall be given same prominence as that given to the
information being corrected.
7. A person subject to this Act shall not publish a story that fall short of factual accuracy and
fairness.
8. A person subject to this Act, while free to be partisan, shall distinguish clearly in their
reports between comment, conjecture and fact.
9. Headings shall reflect and justify the matter printed under them.
10. Headings containing allegations made in statements shall either identify the body or the
source making them or at least carry quotation marks.
11. A person subject to this Act shall present news fairly and impartially, placing primary value
on significance and relevance.
12. A person subject to this Act shall treat all subjects of news coverage with respect and
dignity, showing particular compassion to victims of crime or tragedy.
13. A person subject to this Act shall seek to understand the diversity of their community and
inform the public without bias or stereotype and present a diversity of expressions,
opinions, and ideas in context.
14. A person subject to this Act shall present analytical reporting based on professional
perspective, not personal bias.

Independence

1. Journalists shall defend the independence of all


journalists from those seeking influence or control over news content.
2. A person subject to this Act shall

a) Gather and report news without fear or favour, and resist undue influence from any
outside forces, including advertisers, sources, story subjects, powerful individuals and
special interest groups.
b) Resist those who would buy or politically influence news content or who would seek
to intimidate those who gather and disseminate news.
c) Determine news content solely through editorial judgement and not the result of
outside influence.
d) Resist any self-interest or peer pressure that might undermine journalistic duty and
service to the public;

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 213

e) Recognize that sponsorship of the news shall not be used in any way to determine,
restrict or manipulate content;
f) Refuse to allow the interests of ownership or management to influence news'
judgment and content inappropriately.

Integrity

1. Journalists shall present news with integrity and common decency, avoiding real or
perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as
well as the subjects of news.
2. A person subject to this Act shall

a) identify sources whenever possible. Confidential sources shall be used only when it is
clearly in public interest to gather or convey important information or when a person
providing information might be harmed;
b) clearly label opinion and commentary;
c) use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding techniques that skew
facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events;
d) use surreptitious news gathering techniques including hidden cameras or
microphones, only if there is no other way of obtaining stories of significant public
importance, and if the technique is explained to the audience.

3. A person subject to this Act shall not

a) pay news sources who have vested interest in a story;


b) solicit or accept gifts, favours or compensation from those who might seek to
influence coverage;
c) engage in activities that may compromise their integrity or independence.

Accountability

A person subject to this Act shall recognize that they are accountable for their actions to the
public, the profession and themselves therefore they shall

a) Actively encourage adherence to these standards by all journalists and media


practitioners;
b) Respond to public concerns, investigate complaints and correct errors promptly;
c) Recognise that they are duty-bound to conduct themselves ethically.

Opportunity to Reply

1) A fair opportunity to reply to inaccuracies shall be given to individuals or organisations


when reasonably called for. If the request to correct inaccuracies in a story is in the form of
a letter, the editor has the discretion to publish it in full or in its abridged and edited
version, particularly when it is too long, but the remainder shall be an effective reply to the
allegations.
2) The summarized version of the reply shall not lose the core content.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 214

Unnamed Sources

1) Unnamed sources shall not be used unless the pursuit of the truth will best be served by
not disclosing the source who, shall be known by the editor and reporter.
2) When material is used in a report from sources other than the reporter's, these sources
shall be indicated in the story.

Confidentiality

A person subject to this Act has a professional obligation to protect confidential sources of
information.

Misrepresentation

Journalists shall generally identify themselves and not obtain or seek to obtain information or
pictures through misrepresentation or subterfuge. Subterfuge can be justified only in the public
interest and only when material cannot be obtained by any other means.

Obscenity, taste and tone in reporting

1) In general, persons subject to this Act shall not publish obscene or vulgar material unless
such material contains news.
2) Publication of photographs showing mutilated bodies, bloody incidents and abhorrent
scenes shall be avoided unless the publication or broadcast of such photographs will serve
the public interest.
3) Where possible an alert shall be issued to warn viewers or readers of the information being
published.

Paying for news and articles

A person subject to this Act shall not receive any money as an incentive to publish any
information.

Covering ethnic, religious and sectarian conflict

1) News, views or comments on ethnic, religious or sectarian dispute shall be published or


broadcast after proper verification of facts and presented with due caution and restraint in
a manner which is conducive to the creation of an atmosphere congenial to national
harmony, amity and peace.
2) News reports or commentaries shall not be written or broadcast in a manner likely to
inflame the passions, aggravate the - tension or accentuate the strained relations between
the communities concerned.
3) Articles or broadcasts with the potential to exacerbate communal trouble shall be avoided.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 215

Recording interviews and telephone conversations

1. Except in justifiable cases, A person subject to this Act shall not tape or record anyone
without the person's knowledge. An exception may be made only if the recording is
necessary to protect the journalist in a legal action or for some other compelling reason. In
this context these standards also apply to electronic media.
2. Before recording a telephone conversation for broadcast, or broadcasting a telephone
conversation live, a station shall inform any party to the call of its intention to broadcast the
conversation.
3. This, however, does not apply to conversation whose broadcast can reasonably be
presumed, for example, telephone calls to programmes where the station customarily
broadcasts calls.

Privacy

1. The public's right to know shall be weighed against the privacy rights of people in the news.
2. Journalists shall stick to the issues.
3. Intrusion and inquiries into an individual's private life without the person's consent are not
generally acceptable unless public interest is involved. Public interest shall itself be
legitimate and not merely prurient or morbid curiosity.
4. Things concerning a person's home, family, religion, tribe, health, sexuality, personal life
and private affairs are covered by the concept of privacy except where these impinge upon
the public.

Intrusion into grief and shock

1. In cases involving personal grief or shock, inquiries shall be made with sensitivity and
discretion.
2. In hospitals, journalists shall identify themselves and obtain permission from a responsible
executive before entering non-public areas of hospitals or similar institutions to pursue
enquiries

Gender non-discrimination

Women and men shall be treated equally as news subjects and news sources.

Financial journalism

1. Journalists shall not use financial information they receive in advance for their own benefit,
and shall not pass the information to others.
2. Journalists shall not write or broadcast about shares, securities and other market
instruments in whose performance they know they or their close families have a significant
financial interest, without disclosing the interest to the editor.
3. Journalists shall not buy or sell, directly or through nominees or agents, shares or securities
and other market instruments about which they intend to write in the near future.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 216

Letters to the editor

An editor who decides to open a column on a controversial subject is not obliged to publish all the
letters received in regard to that subject. The editor may select and publish only some of them
either in their entirety or the gist thereof. However, in exercising this right, the editor shall make
an honest attempt to ensure that what is published is not one-sided but presents a fair balance
between the pros and the cons of the principal issue. The editor shall have the discretion to
decide at which point to end the debate in the event of a rejoinder upon rejoinder by two or more
parties on a controversial subject.

Protection of children

1. Children shall not be identified in cases concerning sexual offences, whether as victims,
witnesses or defendants. Except in matters of public interest, for example, cases of child
abuse or abandonment, journalists shall not normally interview or photograph children on
subjects involving their personal welfare in the absence, or without the consent, of a parent
or other adult who is responsible for the children.
2. Children shall not be approached or photographed while at school and other formal
institutions without the permission of school authorities.
3. In adhering to this principle, a journalist shall always take into account specific cases of
children in difficult circumstances.

Victims of sexual offences


The media shall not identify victims of sexual assault or publish material likely to contribute to
such identification.

Use of pictures and names

1. As a general rule, the media shall apply caution in the use of pictures and names and shall
avoid publication when there is a possibility of harming the persons concerned.
2. Manipulation of pictures in a manner that distorts reality and accuracy of news shall be
avoided.
3. Pictures of grief, disaster and those that embarrass and promote sexism shall be
discouraged.

Innocent relatives and friends

The media shall not identify relatives or friends of persons convicted or accused of crime unless
the reference to them is necessary for the full, fair and accurate reporting of the crime or legal
proceedings.

Acts of violence

1. The media shall avoid presenting acts of violence, armed robberies, banditry and terrorist
activities in a manner that glorifies such anti-social conduct.
2. Newspapers shall not allow their columns to be used for writings which tend to encourage
or glorify social evils, warlike activities, ethnic, racial or religious hostilities.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 217

Editor's responsibilities

1. The editor shall assume the responsibility for all content, including advertisements,
published in a newspaper.
2. If responsibility is disclaimed, this shall be explicitly stated beforehand.

Advertisements

1. The editor shall not allow any advertisement which is contrary to any aspect of this Code of
Conduct.
2. The editor shall be guided by the advertiser's code of conduct issued under this Act.

Hate speech

1. Quoting persons making derogatory remarks based on ethnicity, race, creed, colour and sex
shall not be allowed.
2. Racist or negative ethnic terms shall be avoided.
3. Careful account shall be taken of the possible effect upon the ethnic or racial group
concerned, and on the population as a whole, and of the changes in public attitudes as to
what is and what is not acceptable when using such terms.

Any person aggrieved by any publication or media organisation may make a written complaint to
the Media Council of Kenya setting out the grounds for the complaint and the remedy sought. The
Media Council of Kenya is an independent national institution established by the Media Act no 46
of 2013 to give effect to Article 34(5) of the Constitution of Kenya by establishing the a body to
set Media standards and to ensure compliance with those standards and for connected purposes.
The Act establishes the Media Council of Kenya to set media standards and the Complaints
Commission to ensure compliance with those standards.

One of the Councils core functions is to facilitate mediation and or conciliation of disputes
between the Government and the media, the public and the media and intra-media. This
function is undertaken by the Complaints Commission which is an independent organ of the
Council. The Complaints Commission consists of Seven (7) members appointed through a
competitive and industry driven process provided for in section 27 of the Media Act. They include
a chairperson who has held a judicial position or is an advocate of the High Court of Kenya of not
less than 10 years standing and four other persons possessing experience and expertise in
journalism and related fields.

The services of the Commission are free and independent of the Media and Government. In
general, complaints must constitute a breach of the Code of Conduct for the Practice of
Journalism in Kenya (Second Schedule, The Media Act). The Code has 25 Articles incorporating the
dos and donts of the media including fairness and accuracy, right of reply, using unnamed
sources, misrepresentation, privacy, use of pictures and names, integrity, accountability,
obscenity and bad taste, intrusion into grief and shock, protection of children and victims of
sexual violence, acts of violence and hate speech. The decisions of the Commission have the force
of the decisions of a court of law and are only appealable to the High Court. ____________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 218

INFORMATION &
MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

CHAPTER 5

MEDIA TRAINING AND CAPACITY BUILDING

Chapter 4 and 5

Report of the Thematic Committee on

Training, Training Capacity and Ethics

PANELISTS

Susan Makore, Committee Chairperson

Cris Chinaka

Justice Douglas Dhliwayo

Geoffrey Nyarota

Programme/Research Officer

Farayi Chimbindi

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 219

By way of skills and training, the


situation on the ground is a sorry one.
CONTENTS Although training institutions have
grown numerically, and even escalated
CHAPTER 5 to levels of higher learning, the product
from these training institutions has
fallen far, far short, even when
1. Introduction benchmarked against the requirements
of old, pre-ICT revolution media
2. Summary of Findings
models.
3. Issues Emerging from the Inquiry
Training aids in these institutions belie
4. Emerging Issues Specific to Electronic rather than reflect the technological
Media revolution. The curricula followed have
not been attuned to the requirements of
5. Media Training Challenges
existing newsrooms, let alone
6. Impact of New Media on Journalism modernized ones towards which the
and Media Capacity sector should aspire.

7. Proposal for a Journalism Training There is no link between trainers and


Institution in Zimbabwe users of trained skills, indeed no
mechanism for interaction beyond ad-
8. Recommendations
hoc industrial placements which to
9. Appendix date only serve to reveal horrendous
inadequacies in current training
9.1 List of Stakeholder Interviews models. There is no relationship
9.2 Literature Review References
between the numbers of journalists
9.3 Recommendations by Two Leading
Training Institutions Harare Polytechnic, MSU spewed by training institutions and
9.4 Proposals by Independent Producers what the sector can absorb.
9.5 Proposal for National Film Board
9.6 Report on Meeting with Cooperating Clearly the information sector
Partners faces a training and skills crisis,
well before one talks about
modernizing those skills. ...From
Terms of Reference for An Official
Information and Media Panel of Inquiry IMPI Inquiry into the State of the
Information and Media Industry in
Zimbabwe


Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 220

1 INTRODUCTION
______________________

Chapter 4 and 5 reflect the findings of the Thematic Committee on Training, Training
Capacity Building and Ethics from its inquiry process undertaken alongside six other
IMPI thematic committees from April 4, 2014. Under the Training component, the
committee examined aspects involving the enhancing of professional skills; under
Capacity Building, the committee examined means, ways and facilities that enable the
strengthening of such skills; and under Ethics, the thrust was on values, in other words,
the way of life under which these skills are put to use. Chapter 4 presented the findings
and recommendations on Ethics and Standards of Professional Journalism, while Chapter
5 addresses Media Training and Capacity Building.

1.1 Terms of Reference

The committee was mandated to inquire into general media training and training capacity
building through evaluating the arrangements for, scope and quality of
information/media training proffered in the country through a skills audit; as well as to
gauge the relevance and responsiveness of such training to the needs of the industry. The
committee was further tasked to inquire into the film industry and opportunities and
prospects for the development of a much-needed content industry in Zimbabwe, with
emphasis on investment and training.

1.2 Methodology

The Committee used both quantitative and qualitative methods to gather information on
the situation of training in Zimbabwe, while also drawing examples from other countries
in the region. The same methods were used to gather information on the important
subject of ethics, with particular emphasis on the status of and the need for a national
Code of Ethics for journalists and other media players. Methods employed were public
outreach inquiries, desk research, stakeholder interviews and a regional study tour.

1.2.1 Public Outreach
The main methods used to gather data for the study included organising a total of 88
public meetings throughout the 10 administrative provinces of Zimbabwe through a
programme of Public Outreach. General questionnaires were distributed and collected
during the exercise.

1.2.2 Stakeholder Interviews
The main focus of the study was engagement with the various journalism and media
training institutions. Interviews were also held with major media stakeholders, including
media outlets, printing and publishing companies, professional media bodies, electronic
media organisations, regulatory agencies, and civil society organisations involved in

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 221

journalism training, as well as the donor groups that fund their operations. The committee
also used the information obtained from the completed questionnaires drawn from
various categories of respondents, including the media organisations, editors, journalists,
trainees and heads of media training departments at relevant institutions. (See list of
Stakeholder Interviews at end of chapter)

1.2.3 Desk Research
A literature review was conducted around issues to do with media training and capacity
building, and ethics. Desk research was conducted to examine training and capacity
building activities in the region and beyond. An examination of syllabi of various media
training centres and media research institutions nationwide was conducted.

1.2.4 Regional Study Visits
Two panellists and a programme officer of the Committee conducted brief study tours to
Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia, seeking to learn about training, capacity building and
ethics issues in the respective countries.

2 SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
_____________________________

The main findings from the inquiry into Training and Training Capacity are as follows:

5.2.1 There is a consensus in the information and media industry that the standard of
journalism and other media practices in Zimbabwe has plummeted to
unprecedented levels.

5.2.2 For training of journalists, the Harare Polytechnic School of Journalism and Media
Studies, along with other colleges, generally provide the focused practical and
hands-on training preferred by newspapers and broadcasting organisations.

5.2.3 Zimbabwean universities are concentrating on academic media studies and most
of their journalism courses are not adequately backed with practical training, an
issue cited by media houses who are hesitant to employ graduates from these
universities as journalists.

5.2.4 Editors generally treat the college graduates with disdain, saying that they are
unemployable and untrainable in an atmosphere where the editors want to send
the young cadets on assignments almost immediately. The majority of media
organisations do not have in-house training programmes of their own.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 222

5.2.5 College graduates struggle to work effectively on entering the job market because
there is a huge gap between theory and practice, with many lacking the basic
writing and reporting skills.

5.2.6 Zimbabwean colleges produce about 1 000 media and journalism graduates
annually, with the majority coming from uncertified institutions.

5.2.7 At least a dozen colleges around the country offer media and journalism training
programmes that are not recognised or certified by the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Education.

5.2.8 Media and journalism departments at colleges around the country, like various
other departments, are under pressure from their authorities to increase student
enrolment to help to improve institutional sustainability through tuition fees. This
is often done without consideration to staffing capacity or impact on quality.

5.2.9 The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) has so far not used the fees received
from the industry to support media training institutions and students.

5.2.10 There are no ready statistics on the cost of training media workers and teachers in
colleges or in the industry, and there is also no system of tracking what happens
to the thousands of media or journalism graduates from these colleges.

5.2.11 There is a general shortage of teaching material and equipment, including
broadcasting studios, cameras, books and computers.

5.2.12 There are no regular local courses for staff to help to standardise the methods and
quality of teaching in the field of media and journalism.

5.2.13 None of the universities and journalism colleges have special academic journals
for staff to publish research papers; staff and professionals interested in doing this
are publishing in journals and magazines outside Zimbabwe.

5.2.14 There are curriculum reviews going on within colleges but there is not yet one
with a widely recommended or recognised model standard that offers the right
mix of theory, practice and industrial exposure or experience.

5.2.15 Outside training is organised by some local and international media rights lobby
groups, there being no major cooperation or investment by Zimbabwean media
houses into training or capacity building.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 223

5.2.16 Only a handful of media trainers or academics have been appointed to media
boards over the last 15 years, and similarly only about half a dozen senior editorial
or management executives have been invited to sit on advisory boards of
Zimbabwes media training institutions.

5.2.17 The major media houses are not sponsoring any scholarships or special awards in
training colleges, and only a negligible number of their senior staff are invited by
the colleges as guest trainers or speakers.

5.2.18 The national news agency and flagship, New Ziana, which was previously a
source of in-house training and experience for new journalists, is near collapse due
to failure to adapt to the emergence of online media. New Ziana survived on
government subsidy and subscriptions from local and foreign media consumers,
which also sustained the operations and survival of New Ziana in the provinces.

5.2.19 It is the same sad story with the once famous library at New Ziana where many
scholars and journalists went to undertake their research. What remains are old
desks and heaps of daily communiqus from the Government Department of
Information. This historical material can be salvaged if funds are made available to
capture it on electronic devices.

3 ISSUES EMERGING FROM THE INQUIRY


_________________________________________
This section highlights issues emerging from the various processes of inquiry undertaken
by the Committee by way of the outreach programme, stakeholder interviews, desk
research, and a regional study in which two committee members visited Tanzania and
Zambia.

The overall observation made by the committee after conducting this far-reaching
national outreach programme and engagement with stakeholders, is as follows:

u There is consensus that the standard of journalism practice in the country has
plummeted to unprecedented levels. This unwholesome situation is attributed to a
number of factors, the most widely cited being inadequate or poor journalism
training and training capacity-building in the media training institutions, many of
which are unregistered, and in universities. These factors need to be urgently
addressed.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 224

3.1 Training Landscape


3.1.1 Colleges
Amid a widespread outcry about the sub-standard quality of journalism in Zimbabwe,
the panel interrogated officials in the training institutions, which include the primary
journalism training schools, the Harare Polytechnics Department of Mass
Communication and Journalism and the Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA),
as well as at tertiary institutions, which offer courses in media studies. They include
Bulawayos National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Midlands State
University, based in the Midlands capital city, Gweru.

According to the findings of the Committee with regard to training of journalists, the
School of Journalism and Media Studies at the Harare Polytechnic College, along with
other colleges, generally provide the focused practical and hands-on training preferred by
newspapers and broadcasting organisations. Among the other colleges that offer courses
in journalism are the long-established Christian College of Southern Africa
(CCOSA),Speciss College, which specializes in advertising, marketing and public
relations; the Life Long Learning Education College; Marondera-based UMMA; Business
Environment Group of Colleges (BES); and Trust Academy. (A full list of media training
institutions is included in Volume 2 of this report.)

Unknown to the hundreds of youngsters graduating from these colleges annually,
however, the Harare Polytechnic and the little-known Life Long Learning Education
College are the only journalism training institutions officially registered by the Standards
Development and Research Unit (SDERU), which is the division of the Ministry of Higher
and Tertiary Education with responsibility for the registration of all colleges that are
certified to operate.

Government disbanded the SDERU in August 2014 after it emerged that the unit was not
in the structures of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and
Technology. This was almost three years after it was established. It also emerged that
SDERU was not part of the civil service structure although it was funded annually by the
Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF). Its staff consisted of 12 senior
researchers, some of whom received salaries allegedly from both Government and
Zimdef.

The Herald quoted Dr Olivia Muchena, then Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education,
Science and Technology, as having announced the dissolution of the SDERU in August,
saying, "After analysis of previous briefings and documents submitted to my office, I
noticed that SDERU failed to provide a breakdown of its operational expenses. It is
common cause the Standards Development and Research Unit (SDERU) is not part of the
Civil Service Commission structure and its existence ultra vires."

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 225

It was replaced by the newly constituted Standard Development and Quality Assurance
(SDEQA).The functions of SDEQA are curriculum development and course design,
college registration and licensing, college monitoring and compliance and curriculum
development recommendation. This is for polytechnics and vocational training centres, as
well as for private institutions that offer post-secondary education training.

IMPI discovered to the surprise of panelists that CCOSA, despite its pole position and
illustrious history as a recognized journalism training school, with hundreds of
journalism graduates over the years, is in fact an unregistered training institution.

These and other colleges turn out hundreds of so-called journalism graduates annually,
each hoping to secure a reporting position at one of the countrys major publishing and
broadcasting houses Zimbabwe Newspapers, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation,
Alpha Media Holdings, Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, and African Business
Communication. Authorities at the Harare Polytechnic School of Journalism and Media
Studies say that they keep track of their graduates. They say their records show that only
one journalism graduate from the institution was employed by any of the mainstream
media organisations for the three years from 2011.

3.1.2 In-house
The original Daily News, which was banned in 2003, had established an in-house training
programme at the newspaper. Under the guidance of veteran journalist William
Tagwireyi Bango, now late, working journalists were offered tuition in the basics of news
reporting, feature, court and parliamentary reporting, as well as in ethics of journalism
and the laws of defamation.

Zimpapers, which ran a highly regarded cadet journalism school before and well into the
early days of independence, is currently working on plans to again establish a media
academy to train journalists. The academy was originally scheduled to recruit its first
intake to begin in August 2014. The projects concept paper says this development is a
shift from the companys previous approach where its six newspapers and one radio
station recruited trained journalists from the colleges and universities. The Zimpapers in-
house training model has been cited as a good example of media house initiatives in
training and capacity building that other media houses should emulate.

The Zimpapers concept paper states that:

Editors are dissatisfied with the calibre of journalists coming from the various
training institutions in the country. Their understanding of issues is poor and they
generally lack the requisite writing and broadcasting skills needed to operate in our
newsrooms. When they come for internship, they generally lack the basic
professional skills, which they should have acquired at college.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 226

We must seek to produce complete journalists who understand their identity and
can effectively operate in Zimbabwe, fully conscious of the historical, cultural,
political, and economic determinants of our nation. The curriculum has also to
conform to our strategic objective of being a fully integrated media house. We seek to
train our journalists the convergence way, that means being able to operate on the
different platforms -- print, radio, television and digital.

3.1.3 UNESCO
The curriculum for the academy is informed by the UNESCO Model Curricula for
Journalism Education (2007), which is used at most journalism schools throughout the
world. According to the UNESCO Model Curricula for Journalism Education (2007:6), the
basic goal of most journalists is to serve society by informing the public, scrutinising the
way power is exercised, stimulating debate, and aiding political, economic, social and
cultural development. The UNESCO report posits:

"Journalism education should, therefore, teach students how to identify news and
recognise the story in a complex field of fact and opinion, how to conduct journalistic
research, and how to write for, illustrate, edit and produce material for various media
formats (newspapers and magazines, radio and television, and online and multimedia
operations) and for their particular audiences.

It should give them the knowledge and training to reflect on journalism ethics and best
practices in journalism, and on the role of journalism in society, the history of journalism,
media law and the political economy of media (including ownership, organisation and
competition)."


Journalism education should teach students how to identify news and
recognize the story how to conduct journalistic research how to write for
various media formats knowledge and training to reflect on journalism ethics
and best practices and the role of journalism in society UNESCO

3.1.4 Media Trainers


One problem that is likely to be encountered is the severe shortage of skilled and
experienced Zimbabwean journalists to run such programmes as trainers or resource
people in a situation where most news organisations decry the shortage of experienced
staff in their newsrooms.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 227

One of major observations of this Committee is that if consensus is easily reached on the
nature of the decline in the quality of professional journalism in Zimbabwe, there is even
greater consensus surrounding the fact that the countrys institutions of higher learning,
the universities, are annually capping hundreds of media academics, not training
journalists. The current enrolment at Midlands State University (MSU) in the Department
of Media and Society Studies is in excess of 400 students. If graduates from the Harare
Polytechnic struggle to secure jobs as news reporters on newspapers and radio or
television stations in the mainstream media organisations, the challenge is greater for
graduates from MSU, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), and Great
Zimbabwe University (GZU).

This situation has given rise to the emergence of a new media phenomenon, the rise of
hordes of young so-called freelance journalists with no previous experience of practical
journalism in any newsroom. They seek to compete with established and experienced
reporters working especially on the newspapers, whom they meet at the same news
events, especially press conferences. Normally freelance journalists succeed on the basis
of experience and reputations achieved while working in established news organisations.

A paper titled Problems being faced by freelance journalists, which was submitted to
the committee by the Media Centre, the haven of freelance journalists in Harare, laments
the woes of this type of reporter. The poor quality of this submission is a pointer to the
reasons why editors are reluctant to accept articles submitted by freelance journalists. The
submission states:

Each year, universities and colleges are releasing graduates who are fit for
employment in the media industry; but the industry has not been opening up
employment opportunities for graduates as they prefer to employ already established
journalists; the end result is that all these graduates become freelance operating
journalists.

Freelance journalists are being affected more as they struggle to get their articles
published, get information from official sources and the worst scenario is getting paid
for their articles; (with the vast majority of the freelance journalists opting to put their
stories on the ever sprouting online sites for no payment).

Other media houses which I will not mention pay as little as $15 for an article and
other on-line sites get stories for free. Freelance journalists are now opting to have
their stories published for free as they will be trying to establish their names in the
media industry and by chance will get recognition and are offered full-time jobs.

Accusations have become widespread that media studies at some universities, which
attract hundreds of students annually, are nothing more than glorified commercial
enterprises. Media faculties have mushroomed all over Zimbabwes university landscape,
nevertheless.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 228

3.1.5 Regulatory Bodies


Most universities offer media-related degree programmes. These are not journalism-
specific but media research-biased and related disciplines. These university programmes
are all registered by the Zimbabwe Council of Higher Education (ZIMCHE), which is the
registering authority of higher education institutions. The effectiveness of ZIMCHE and
SDERU in policing, monitoring and ensuring quality and integrity of training institutions
is, therefore, not clear.

Clearly, in the case of SDERU, there is commercialisation of training of journalists with


unregistered centres charging exorbitant tuition fees for dubious qualifications that leave
hundreds, if not thousands, of youths unemployed while holding onto worthless or
dubious journalism certificates or diplomas. In desperation, they embark on careers as
freelance journalists from which they cannot make a sustainable living. SDERU says they
believe the human resources departments of media houses indulge in corrupt hiring
practices. They also believe the setting up of a national employment council for journalists
(media practitioners) could bring about more professionalism in both the training and
hiring of reporters.

3.1.6 Donor-funded Training


Another category of training initiatives is donor supported, such as those organised by
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum
(ZINEF), the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) Zimbabwe, the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ), the
Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFIC), the Federation of African Media
Women (FAMWZ) and a number of others.

These organisations play a significant but seemingly uncoordinated role in training and
capacity building in the media. Their funding comes mostly from the Friedrich Ebert
Stiftung (FES) (Germany), HIVOS of the Netherlands, USAID (United States), Sida
(Sweden), Norad (Norway), Danida (Denmark), CIDA (Canada) and the International
Media Support (IMS), which is a clearing house for Nordic-funded programmes.

In a section of its submission to IMPI, the Media Monitoring Programme of Zimbabwe


(MMPZ) states that professional training is an essential element in developing a
community of professional journalists that plays a critical role in neutralizing the
poisonous culture of intolerance and abuse that has characterized Zimbabwes media
environment over the last decade.

While this is urgent, it must be understood that this will be a process not a
revolution in the development and promotion of professional journalistic practice.
Today there are precious few if any journalists training institutions, since nearly
all tertiary learning centres focus on media and community studies courses at
university level, producing academics rather than journalists. Only NUST is
attempting to combine journalism with its academic media studies programme.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 229

Journalism training by donor-funded Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) is


intermittent, irregular and unfocused and is of precious little value without the
development of a proper journalism practice curriculum, a thorough mapping of
needs and the collaboration of media institutions themselves. Structured courses need
to be developed and consistently implemented with regular follow-ups and measures
that ensure implementation and adherence.

One drawback of donor-funded journalism training initiatives, usually in the form of


workshops, is that they have tended to be weakened by challenges such as the following:

Training programmes have been selective in terms of beneficiaries. Traditionally,


the so-called independent or privately owned media outlets have been the target
of training programmes, even if their circulation is low, with their newspapers
reaching only a small section of the community, while public media outlets such
as The Herald, which have a much larger circulation, and therefore employ much
larger numbers of journalists, are side-lined.

In some cases trainers or resource people are invited from the donor nations at the
expense of more qualified and experienced local experts, who may be better
informed on the subjects being covered and media conditions in Zimbabwe.

Programmes for which resource people are flown from the donor countries tend to
be more expensive when airfares and accommodation costs are factored in.
Remuneration and daily subsistence allowances are higher for foreign resource
people than for locals.

Such workshops tend to be ad hoc initiatives, sometimes without continuity or a
well-identified curriculum. The design or development of the curriculum is
usually left to the individual trainer or workshop manager.

While all media stakeholders engaged by this Committee were specifically requested to
highlight their journalism training initiatives in their submissions there was hardly any
reference to training in the papers submitted by HIFC and FAMWZ. Both organisations
purport to be in the forefront of training and mentoring journalists in Zimbabwe.

In a section appearing under the headline, HIFC Activities, HIFC lists Mentoring in
general features and investigative reporting and Media training as two of its key
activities. Conspicuously absent from the submission is some comprehensive outline of
how HIFC handles the complex subject of investigative journalism training. The same was
the case with the FAMWZ submission. (Note that full submissions are available in Volume 2 of
this report)

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 230

3.1.7 General Situation


In summation, editors blamed training institutions for producing half-baked journalists
and media workers who cannot operate in the newsroom without re-training. Newsroom
mentoring has been depleted by the migration of more experienced journalists.

Journalism trainers, on the other hand, say the newsrooms are responsible for undoing all
the good training they will have imparted to new reporters. The trainers also blame the
decline in the standard of Zimbabwes primary and secondary school education for the
poor command of English, in particular, and poor general knowledge among newly
trained reporters. The trainees themselves generally do not specifically blame their
trainers. Instead, they blame lack of appropriate equipment, poorly stocked libraries, and
the inappropriately structured curricula in journalism training institutions.

Training aids in these institutions, especially for broadcasting, belie, rather than reflect,
the technological revolution. The curricula followed, especially for journalism training,
have not been attuned to the requirements of existing newsrooms, let alone modernized
ones towards which the sector should aspire. There is no link between trainers and users
of trained skills, indeed no mechanism for interaction beyond ad hoc industrial
internships, which reveal the horrendous inadequacies in current training models.

Training provided by or under the sponsorship of civil society groups, mainly in the form
of short workshops, is viewed as seasonal, such as just ahead of elections, constitutional
referenda and other uncoordinated events. Such training workshops are often regarded
merely as a source of extra income in the form of per diems to augment the low salaries
earned by reporters.

The general situation on the ground in terms of journalistic skills and training is a sad
one. Although training institutions have grown numerically and even escalated in status
in recent years to levels of higher learning, the quality of the product -- that is, the
journalist -- from these training institutions has fallen far short of industry requirements
and national or public expectation. It is a maxim that the decline in the quality of
journalism in Zimbabwe is in inverse proportion to the increase in the quantity of
journalism training.

It is indisputable evidence of this further decline in the quality of journalism, for example,
that vast tracts of vernacular Shona text have become a common occurrence in
Zimbabwes English newspapers, especially when quoting verbatim pronouncements
made by President Robert Mugabe, with little or no effort to translate such text into the
official language of the publications, English. The task is left to the readers to translate for
themselves. Such frustrated readers include Zimbabweans whose sole medium of
communication is Ndebele or English. A vast number of citizens are therefore denied
their right of immediate access to some information published in newspapers which they
make sacrifices to purchase for the sole purpose of unhindered access to the information
contained therein.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 231


There is no relationship between the numbers of journalists churned out annually by
training institutions and what the media industry can absorb. There is little coordination
among the training institutions, and only two are registered with SDERU in the Ministry
of Higher and Tertiary Education, as noted previously -- the School of Mass Media and
Journalism at the Harare Polytechnic College and the Long Life Education College, also in
Harare.

It is clear that the media sector faces a basic training and skills crisis, well before one
talks about modernising those skills.

In a section of its submission to the Committee, under the heading Multiple Media
Training Regimes and Programmes, the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF)
states that the proliferation of higher education institutions that offer journalism as a
diploma or a degree course has been a positive development for Zimbabwes media
industry.

The primary problem has become that the multiplicity of media training institutions
do not share a common curriculum or standard as to the measurement of the nature of
training required to produce a fully-fledged professional journalist. As a result there
has been the challenge of multiple entry-level requirements into the profession of
journalism, ranging from diplomas to degrees.

Structured courses need to be developed and consistently implemented with regular


follow-ups and measures that ensure implementation and adherence. MMPZ

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 232

UMMA Institute Case Study

Panelists from IMPI made a case study of UMMA, a journalism training programme that is not
officially registered. They interviewed the institutions principal and director of studies and undertook a
guided tour of the establishment.
Based in Marondera in Mashonaland East, UMMA offers a 12-month diploma in print and
broadcast journalism. The institute opened in 1995 and authorities say it has trained students from as far
afield as Zambia, Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Swaziland and Botswana over the years, in addition to
Zimbabweans.
Entry requirements are five O level passes including English, Mathematics, History, Geography
and any other subject. Trainees with A level passes in subjects such as accounts, business and
commerce become specialist reporters in those areas upon graduation.
The principal said the annual intake is 20 students. UMMA has only one instructor who is
occasionally assisted by external resource persons (a locally-based ZBC reporter, the editor of the
weekly community newspaper Chaminuka News) and the principal himself. The instructor covers
newspaper reporting, sub-editing and freelance writing.
The Institute strives to achieve equal enrolment for female and male trainees. In 2013 it enrolled 10
male and 6 female students. Current enrolment reached gender parity at 10 males and 10 females, he
said.
The institute says it is affiliated to the UK-based Institute of Commercial Management (ICM), a
professional body for commercial and business development staff working in key sectors of industry.
UMMA says its training module is comprehensively print and broadcast journalism specific, and
includes: Broadcast journalism; Newspaper reporting; Sub-editing; Freelance and feature writing;
Media law and ethics; Advertising; Public relations; and Marketing.
UMMAs tuition fee for the journalism course is pegged at US$ 895 per term.
Before graduating, all the trainees are posted on industrial attachments. None of the graduates from
the institute are unemployed, according to the UMMA head.
He attributed this success to the institutes strong bias towards practical training throughout the
course and what he described as strong links with the market.

Observations by the Committee


A major concern was that 12 months is too short a period to produce competent journalists, and
the staff component of only one full-time lecturer is inadequate. Tuition fees seem excessive,
especially in the prevailing economic environment.
A follow-up with some of the colleges alumni was deemed to be necessary to verify some of
the claims, especially with regard to the employment prospects. It was also deemed necessary to
confirm the institutes affiliation to the UK-based Institute of Commercial Management. It
subsequently transpired that UMMAs journalism training programme is not registered with
government authorities in Zimbabwe, which undermines the value of its certificates.
Practical aspects of the training are deficient, with no studio or broadcasting facility and no
newspaper delivered to campus, obviously in a bid to cut down on costs.
Generally speaking, the diploma courses offered at different colleges, such as UMMA, cater for
vocational needs of journalists and are generally more theoretical than practical.
Teaching at most institutions does not seem adequate, and journalists entering the newsroom for
the first time have to undergo further on-the-job training to learn to write properly.
There is need to develop curricula based on the needs of the industry, incorporating digital
multimedia skills development, as well as basics such as attention to grammar and note-taking.
There is need to establish linkages with centres of journalism excellence in the region and
beyond, and between training institutions and end-users of their product.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 233

3.2 Studies on Training and Professional Capacity Building



The findings of the Committee confirmed the findings by previous studies that there is no
clear national policy framework on media and journalism training in Zimbabwe, and
there is not a functional official platform for training institutions, media organisations and
the media industry to discuss training programmes. While there is a proliferation of
training programmes, an audit through the national newsrooms reveals a general lack of
satisfaction with the quality of media studies graduates from most of the institutions.

The most thorough of the earlier reports on the status of the media was the Zimbabwe
Media Study on Training and Professional Capacity Building compiled by Cris Chinaka
in 2011. Chinaka is the Zimbabwe correspondent for the international news agency,
Reuters, and an IMPI panellist. His report found that stakeholders in the media sector in
Zimbabwe agree that although Zimbabwean journalists go into the field with some
training, their level of reporting is low to average.

Chinakas report presented the findings of an assessment of media training needs in
Zimbabwe, both short- and long-term, and was supported by the Deutsche Welle
Akademie in Germany. The broad objective was to strengthen media training
programmes in the country so that journalism can play its traditional supportive role in
the development of a democratic society and to highlight issues that stakeholders see as
critical to raising the standard of journalism in the country.

The stakeholders see further training as crucial to raising the standard of journalism,
which they say has been affected by politics, political polarisation and lack of adherence
to the dictates of the profession, the report stated. The level of journalism is also blamed
on low capacity of journalism training in the country. The stakeholders say training
should emphasise fair, balanced and ethical reporting, in view of the African Media
Barometer studies (Zimbabwe 2010) indicating that the standard of reporting does not
respect the principles of accuracy and fairness in a range of areas, including politics,
business and gender.

The Committee established that these concerns expressed in 2011 over the quality of
journalism training and practice were still very valid in Zimbabwe in 2014, with the
situation having, in fact, further deteriorated. The general consensus aligns with the
results of a Survey on Zimbabwe Media Training undertaken by Chinaka (Feb 2011/May
2013) that called for prudent and effective use of available resources through a series of
measures, such as:
o tightening entry qualifications for students in colleges,
o wide use of experienced workers in the industry,
o investing in technology and training equipment, and
o responding and tailoring media and journalism training to the needs of the
country.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 234


An analysis of media training offered by vocational institutions, including universities
and colleges, as well as training supported by various organisations, reveals some huge
gaps in content and design, technical, financial and skills capacity, co-ordination and co-
operation. There is hardly any institution offering graduate and post-graduate
programmes in practical journalism as most of the universities focus more on media and
society studies.

While some local and international media interest and civil society groups have stepped
into the training arena by offering needs-based short-term courses in various fields, it is
clear that these efforts cannot be a substitute for a properly organised national media and
journalism training policy and framework.

The Committee established that there is a strong need for Zimbabwe to greatly improve
basic journalism training, and the need to develop national capacity to offer such training,
including setting up new structures, while reforming and strengthening some existing
institutions and systems.

The Committee also suggests some short-term interventions to help to improve current
programmes. The government and the media industry should jointly invest in the
establishment of an independent journalism training institute to address the lack of a
systematic and professional mid-career training of journalists.

Although there is high unemployment among media and journalism graduates, which
could be reflective of the high unemployment rate in the formal sector of the economy,
media training must adopt a long-term view. The media and information sector is
expected to expand significantly in the next two to three years with new radio and
television stations, newspapers and other media platforms absorbing graduates from this
sector.

Media students and their trainers, and working journalists believe Zimbabwes media
would be a lot more competitive if these identified gaps are addressed.

3.3 Highlights of Training Experiences by Individual Media House

The Zimbabwe Newspapers group has set aside a budget to kick-start a year-long
cadetship programme and has recruited 10 university graduates from various
disciplines. Training editor William Chikoto said the group was working on
modules for this programme and would also be running in-house training for
existing staff. He said they would draw trainers from both industry and training
colleges.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 235

Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) group editor-in-chief, Vincent Kahiya, said while
the group had benefited from training sponsored by local and international media
organisations, its focus is now on developing capacity for convergence journalism.
The programme had already started by merging the newsrooms of its weekly and
daily newspapers, and getting a technical expert to help with the convergence.
Kahiya said training institutions have to be strengthened to produce graduates
who can hit the ground running, saying the costs of further training are burdening
the struggling media houses.

ANZ editor-in-chief Stanley Gama said journalists at his stable had some form of
in-house training, and had spent time and financial resources on graduates who
should have been ready to work upon engagement. He emphasised the need for
industry and colleges to work closely together to produce graduates who are
attuned to the needs of the workplace.

Financial Gazette editor-in-chief Hama Saburi says the industry is spending quite a
lot of time working on university graduates and there is a compelling case for
media houses and the training institutions to get some understanding of the ideal
programmes and products.That is going to be the most constructive approach in
the short-term, and these discussions are already going on.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 236

Is there an African way of
Who is what is a journalist? practicing journalism?

! !

Statutory regulation or self


regulation?

Does the media have a role in conflict


resolution and nation building?

!
The Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance at Africa University organised a
Roundtable of media executives from eastern and southern Africa to reflect on the
challenges, prospects, opportunities and linkages for Media, Peace and Development in
Africa. This took place at Africa University campus near Mutare, Zimbabwe in November
2009, and was attended by some 20 media executives from public and private media in 11
countries, both print and broadcasting, with facilitation support from the Southern African
Research and Documentation Centre (SARDC). ...

A summation of the presentations and discussions drew out the four topics above for deeper
examination, resulting in some observations as follows:

o The problem of defining a journalist can be traced to how journalism started in


Africa. People started practising journalism without any formal training and rose up
the ranks to senior positions. The old guard were not keen on enforcing the need
to acquire basic qualifications such as certificates, diplomas and degrees in
journalism. With technology and media integration, the challenge that remains is to
define who we are by professional standards just as lawyers and doctors do, more so
with the emergence of citizen journalists. This has led to the blurring of audiences
so that presently a thin line separates the two, thus it is up to the journalists to
remain relevant by competently reporting the news and adhering to standards.

o When training to be a journalist, there should be basic requirements. Once trained, a


journalist ought to be registered and abide by the principles put in place such as
objectivity, accuracy, integrity, balance and a firm ethical grounding to avoid
instances of envelopism.

o The ideal situation is to have self-regulation but with components of statutory


regulation to allow for enforcement. Some publications may choose not to respect
the ruling of self-regulatory bodies but they cannot evade the rule of law.

o Both public and private media should be part of the nation-building process.
______________________________________

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 237

4 EMERGING ISSUES SPECIFIC TO THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA


_________________________________________

4.1 Situation of Electronic Media

The ever-changing media landscape, coupled with the economic challenges in Zimbabwe,
has seen print media circulation going down due to a depressed market as people opt for
easier and cheaper access to information through the electronic media that comprise
radio, television and online platforms.

However, from the information gathered by the Committee during the outreach exercise
and interactions with various stakeholders, the machinery of these platforms needs to be
oiled, as the products and services are below expectations. Zimbabwe was one of the
pioneers of radio and television establishments in East and Central Africa, yet countries
that set up electronic media platforms long after Zimbabwe are now way ahead by way of
information dissemination and media plurality. Some examples are Tanzania, which now
has at least 40 radio and 15 television stations, and Zambia with more than 75 radio and
three TV stations.

Zimbabwe still has two television channels, one of which barely covers a 50-kilometre
radius of Harare, and seven radio stations, including a nearly invisible Voice of
Zimbabwe shortwave radio station. One of the key factors that have caused slow progress
in electronic media development is an apparent lack of capacity to produce marketable
products. Thus the country is now inundated with foreign broadcasts, some produced by
expatriate Zimbabwean expertise that is abundant throughout the region and beyond.

This part of the report highlights views raised pertaining to capacity building of the
electronic media, and further explores the Tanzanian experience.

4.2 Capacity Building of the Electronic Media

With regard to the electronic media, which comprises radio, television and online
platforms, the outreach interviews with pertinent stakeholders brought the following to
the fore.

4.2.1 Transmission
The outreach showed that Zimbabweans are hungry for information, with the situation
compounded by the failure of the national broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation (ZBC), to reach anywhere near 50 percent of the country due to a lack of or
malfunctioning of transmitters. The signal carrier, Transmedia, cited financial constraints
and ZBCs failure to pay for services as reasons for the shambolic state of transmitters.
Transmedia also acknowledged managerial blunders and poor planning when a
government grant was used to purchase wrong equipment to capacitate the airwaves.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 238

That, primarily, is why Zimbabweans, who fail to access local broadcasts in most parts of
the country, depend on foreign services.

Lack of a harmonious relationship between ZBC and Transmedia has also cost viewers
and listeners the access to valuable news and information. When the signal carrier was
under ZBC as a department, it used to have a rapid response unit to repair and resuscitate
malfunctioning transmitters. One of the transmitters found to be non-functional is the
Mutorashanga signal carrier which has deprived information to a wide area of
Mashonaland West and some parts of Mashonaland Central provinces.

In Matabeleland North the public blamed the lack of access to radio and television on the
alleged transfer of the Kamativi Tin Mine transmitter elsewhere.

The above challenges have resulted in cries for other sources of information, hence the call
for community radio and television stations to bridge gaps created by the national
broadcaster.

4.2.2 Programme Quality

People interviewed also complained about the poor quality of programmes from ZBC TV,
a problem which they attributed to under-qualified or inexperienced staff using outdated
or old equipment. However, some of the staff interviewed blamed the lack of modern
equipment and wrong priorities on the part of their management, hence the deteriorating
standards at the state broadcaster. They gave as an example the fact that the more than
US$100,000 used to buy a luxury Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle for management could
have been used to refurbish a studio and buy several cameras, previewing facilities and
editing machines.

They said there is a sad and disappointing situation whereby producers and previewers
scramble for one or two machines to view and shortlist footage while those in the
commissioning department scramble for the same equipment to preview programmes
from independent producers.

News video clips from provinces are usually broadcast many days after the event because
ZBC relies on public transport to carry footage when it could invest in the use of Satellite
News Gathering (SNG) or Fibre-Optic which is automatic and now available in most
towns and cities.

While it is standard procedure for newscasters to garble the news before transmission, it
appears all radio stations, including the two privately owned ones, do not take that
seriously, hence the occasional mispronunciations and gaffes from the presenters.
Reintroduction of these Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) can help to improve
programme quality at the stations.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 239

4.2.3 Archives

ZBC is sitting on thousands of hours of visual footage in film, Umatic, Betacam and VHS
format that cannot be accessed due to lack of equipment to transfer the material, hence
compromising in content and programme quality. If this valuable historical footage,
dating back to the 1960s, is transformed to digital material, ZBC could enhance both
programme quality and income, especially for documentaries. Because of ignorance of
documentation, a large chunk of archival material was burnt as garbage a few years ago,
thereby destroying the historic recordings.

4.3 Submissions from Independent Producers and Production Houses
Independent producers and production houses in Zimbabwe represent a section of the
media industry that is slowly fading with most production houses closing down due to
lack of jobs. This sector comprises artists, audio/visual producers, directors, editors,
graphic artists, audio operators, camera persons, and light and technical engineers. (See
submission by Independent Producers in Appendix to this Chapter)

Their products include films, documentaries, audio/visual dramas, comedies, sitcoms,
advertisements, corporate videos and audios, photography, and graphic materials such as
banners and brochures, etc. Since the bulk of the jobs are marketing and public relations
oriented, the products are usually taken by the corporate world to enhance their
businesses. However, with the current economic downturn most companies have cut
down on costs and the first target is usually advertising, thereby affecting the media
production sector.

To come out of the wilderness, the producers developed several proposals to enable the
industry to remain afloat and competitive nationally and regionally. For film producers,
the action plan envisaged the formation of a National Film Board (NAFIB) as a driving
force to rejuvenate and capacitate the film industry.

The Zimbabwe Film Industry Development Committee prepared a detailed Film Policy
Proposal which they re-submitted to the Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting
Services on October 25, 2013, on behalf of Zimbabwean filmmakers. The proposal
identifies the need for a National Film Board (NAFIB) and presents a detailed structure
and formal operational mechanism for a body intended to to make further and better
provision for the development of a dynamic, professional and self-sustaining Zimbabwe
film-making industry that is globally competitive. This would be established under the
laws of Zimbabwe, and enacted by the President and Parliament of Zimbabwe.

The objectives of the National Film Board are presented as:


o meaningful State support for the professional development of the film sector,
o enhancing the operational capacity of Zimbabwean-owned film production,

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 240

o promoting the training of Zimbabwean crew in all departments and levels to first
class standards, promoting and protecting the patronage of Zimbabwean films by
Zimbabwean audiences and viewers, and,
o spearheading the marketing and distribution of Zimbabwean film products
nationally, regionally and internationally.

The proposal presents the structure of governance by a Board, including among its
powers and duties the establishment of a well-endowed and sustainable film fund which
can ensure the competitiveness of the local film industry by soliciting for funds from
government, institutions and organisations, and from film industry stakeholders in
Zimbabwe and from abroad, but always mindful of the sanctity of national objectives of
the film sector in Zimbabwe.

(See full NAFIB proposal appended to this chapter.)

Training Colleges as Capacity Builders for Media



Our research indicated that lecturers at colleges have requisite qualifications but
lack practical experience to produce good artists, writers, producers or broadcasters.
As a result, they often fail to critique the works submitted by students.

The colleges should equip their studios with modern tools so that their students do
not struggle to fit into the market.

It is important to make follow-ups on students on attachment to check progress and
due to prevalent reports of students being harassed or used as messengers, thus
often returning to college without having benefitted from their attachment.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 241

Media Training in TANZANIA Case Study


The sudden opening up of media space resulted in the scramble for experienced and professional
practitioners, who were outnumbered by the stations. This caused a deterioration in standards and
quality as institutions used unqualified personnel to produce news and programmes. The only two
universities then failed to adequately supply much-needed personnel. However, the situation has since
improved with the establishment of seven colleges, with some now offering degrees in media studies,
two of them at Masters level.
One notable challenge is the effect of the poor performance of the economy that has forced
businesses to cut costs.
The worst-affected industry is the electronic media where officials admitted that good quality
programming is compromised by the employment of people with diplomas or unqualified personnel to
whom they offer less remuneration than graduates. We witnessed this scenario at Radio Maria, a
Catholic radio station based in Dar es Salaam but also operating in 17 regions. To cut costs, they
employ very few qualified persons and use volunteers who receive on-the-job training.
Radio Maria also demonstrated how easy it is to set up a community radio station using very
simple basic tools as well as linking up with other media players to reach a wider audience.
According to the Director of Information, Assah Mwambene, government is working on a bill
to fund and support the media industry as a way to capacitate the industry. He said the Universal
Access Fund also assists in training staff in the in the electronic media.
Government assists the national broadcaster, the Tanzania Broadcasting Corporation (TBC)
through a grant to complement their income generation through commercials. TBC does not
collect licence fees as is done in Zimbabwe.
The other media are also assisted in capacity building by Non-Governmental Organisations
(NGOs) through Media Council of Tanzania (MCT) initiatives.
The Tanzania Revenue Authority has introduced a stamp as patent to protect artists whose
works have been pirated.
Moving with the times, the once popular daily newspaper, Mwanahalisi, has gone online and is
slowly regaining its popularity and getting advertisements.
The five mobile phone companies operating in Tanzania also enhance wider reach of the media
through their online carriage capacity.
Through funding from government, TBC television covers all parliamentary sessions, thereby
enabling Tanzanians to know the performance of their legislators.
The Government of Tanzania initially wanted to go it alone in building national infrastructure
for digitisation to meet its 2015 deadline. The State broadcaster, TBC, then went into
partnership with a Chinese company, a move resisted by the private sector who also wanted to
be involved. They worked out a compromise that resulted in a three-pronged approach in which
the government, private corporate media and religious-based media organisations each went into
partnerships with their technical partners to speed up the process.
According to the Director of Information, government has moved faster than the other two but
jointly the three companies have been able to cover 70 percent of the country.

Sources of Information --The Media Council of Tanzania, Mwanahalisi newspaper (still banned
but now operating online), Embassy of Zimbabwe in Tanzania, Director of Information in Tanzania,
literature gathered during the visit, and Vox Pops.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 242

5 MEDIA TRAINING CHALLENGES


__________________________

5.1 Benchmarking Professionalism

One of the ways to critique copy/script in the media is by way of examining them against
a checklist of values used to judge entries to the national annual journalism awards. This
writing combines value judgments used by adjudicators to the National Journalistic Merit
Awards (NJAMA 2014) organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), and to the
annual Excellence in Journalism Awards (EJAT) organized the Media Council of
Tanzania. In the case of Tanzania, the findings are published in Scribes January-June 2014
issues, which is a journal of the Media Council of Tanzania.

The value judgments reflect on the training needs or interventions that may address some
of the professional deficiencies similarly faced in both countries.

The values reflect two important perspectives that are contemporary: journalism skills
and societal impact, that is to say how the packaging has followed all known and
acceptable procedures and norms, and how the story relates to the concerns of the
targeted people.

In the print media, benchmarks used when judging entries are readability, clarity and
style, a storytelling technique that makes readers see and feel the story, the facts are
accurate and show clearly the what, who, when, where, how and why. A well-written
story is that which is easy to follow, clear and convincing. Other elements include
sourcing the information and that the writer demonstrates imagination.

The broadcast media radio and television -- have extra benchmarks such as clarity of
presentation, style, voice, narrative technique, programme structure, engagement and
emotional impact.

Scrutiny of the cardinal principles of journalism is a major benchmark applied to all


media platforms: accuracy, balance, fair play and objectivity. The judges wanted to see the
relevance and public impact or benefit of the story. They also looked at originality of the
idea including execution and subject being appealing, diversity of voices, including
prominence of the voiceless, such as women, children, the aged and those impaired in any
manner.

A well-written story would also give the judges the context, thus giving the story
meaning and making readers relate it to their lives and surroundings. The why and
how were therefore important to be explained in a contested story.

The final attribute the judges looked for was revelation: making known something new,
hidden intentionally or just made known because it is important to the lives of the people
whether negatively or positively but now revealed by an investigative journalist.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 243

5.2 Print Media

Some of the observations, shared in common by both Tanzanian and Zimbabwean judges,
regarding the scrutinised print media entries, mentioned above, are as follows:

Headlines. Some went out of the way completely as if they were based on a different
story. You go through a story and you ask -- Where is the headline coming from? The
rule is that the headline must originate from the material story. Why this should
happen at all needs to be discussed by editors. The practice debases the profession in
society as some officials in government and the public are always castigating
headlines. Imagine coming face to face with a live example of such headlines in a
news story the sender regards as the most professionally rendered and deserving to
be rewarded as the best practice of journalism!

Good sources create credibility and authenticity, thus enhancing the element of truth,
which is a cardinal principle. However some stories submitted for the awards were
sourced from irrelevant sources, and were biased as a result. Shying away from
identifying the real persons responsible under the guise of not available or did not
answer the phone is a lame excuse. Using shortcuts and not knowing the real source
of certain information is professional weakness. The discipline and tact of getting the
right source is an important component in the make-up of a journalist.

Surprisingly, juveniles and victims of sexual assaults were identified in some stories.
Here were entries purporting to be the best practice in journalism but causing pain
and misery to children and their parents.

Journalism deals with events and information of the day or related to today. Facts
that were true yesterday could be false today, and they could be erroneous in one
context, while true in another. Some entries had this anomaly, using outdated data.
For example, one entry used 2002 census data instead of the 2012 population count.
This does not reflect well on the awareness of the reporter. This is a result of not
using relevant sources, and shows lazy reporting.

One important function of journalistic reports is to assist the public to understand


why things are what they are. Information only makes sense when it is given context.
The past is invaluable knowledge source for present context and future analysis.

Some stories had by-lines that said by our reporters, meaning it was a joint effort
and no one could claim exclusive credit. Yet stories produced jointly were submitted
by individuals as a solo effort. These were disqualified for the obvious reason that the
entry was dishonest.

A lot of feature stories start with a fictional character something similar to what the
story purports to describe later on, and they justify this fiction by the excuse ...is not
her/his real name It is not proper to hide a characters name, but the reason must
be stated and justified, and the rest of the story remains factual.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 244

Stories about children were the most problematic, at times lacking attribution, being
attributed to a single source or overwhelmingly focusing on evil, violence and abuses
rather than development of children.

5.3 Broadcast Media

In the electronic media platform matters were a little better with the quality of radio
programmes submitted for the contest being fairly good, in the Tanzanian case. The panel
of judges noted the following strengths applicable to radio and television entries:

Programme introductions of the winning entries and some others were well
articulated and catchy, giving a summary of what is covered. Anything to the
contrary invited a negative reception from the judges and was likely to be
discarded.
Ability to attract the interest of the viewer or listener by promptly bringing in the
multi-voices that were about to comment on the subject of the programme.

On the other hand, some weaknesses were discerned that ran throughout the radio and
television entries in varying degrees.

Listeners and viewers would be bombarded with information without revealing


the subject matter first, which is a clear indication that the programme has not
been planned and as a result information cannot be controlled.
Some television programmes had poor visuals that could not feature or bring out
the desired message.
Some narrators became authorities on their subjects, resulting in long narrations
that are not of interest to audiences, thus making the programme dull.
Journalists and broadcasters have not internalized the habit of reading and
learning.

5.4 Addressing the Shortcomings

Journalism, like other professions, is made of knowledge, skills and orientation or


attitudes. The extent to which these tools have been mastered and embraced is reflected in
the outputs -- be it news, features, documentaries, discussions, photographs,
commentaries, reports and others that fill the space of newspapers and broadcast airtime.

Journalism being a communications skill, has formats through which information and
messages are packaged. The packaging process is what students of journalism learn in
schools and polytechnics.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 245

How to gather information, how to interview, how to find sources, how to write the news,
and how to take and process photographs and video, how to present (voicing), how to
compile and write features, how to edit, how to write opinion, how to investigate a story,
how to design the carrier, and so forth.

The assumption here is that contestants at the level of being able to submit entries for
such a high level contest are well versed with communication formats and their etiquette.

The shortcomings were in basic knowledge, skills and attitude. Attitude or orientation as
some would like to call it, is reflected in the mastery and application of ethical
approaches.

This means that newsrooms still have a lot of


journalists deficient in basic skills, especially in
The "10,000-Hour Rule" is broadcasting. Judges found it difficult to classify a
mentioned repeatedly in a programme as to whether it was a talk, discussion,
recent non-fiction book that interview, opinion, debate, feature and the like.
examines the factors that Basic ethics such as how to cover children and
contribute to high levels of sexual matters have not been embraced by
success, claiming that the key practitioners.
to success in any field is, to a These deficiencies could be minimized by clear
large extent, a matter of parameters for training, as well as instilling a
practising a specific task for a culture of reading in our journalists... and practice,
total of about 10 000 hours practice, practice.
(Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers:
The Story of Success, Little 5.5 The Case for a Standard Curriculum
Brown 2008). Can this rule be
The first step would be to ensure training
applied to journalism institutions in the country, whatever their calibre,
training..10,000 hours of follow a specific standard curriculum approved by
practising to write the intro! the industry. It is high time the adoption of the
standardised curriculum was jointly developed by
Zimbabwe media representatives and the
Zimbabwe Council for Higher Education
(ZIMCHE).

Well-trained graduates would be easier to mentor as a way of strengthening skills and


expanding knowledge to develop hidden talents.

The most difficult stories to judge in the contests mentioned above were those purporting
to be investigative reporting, the judges said. It seems the real theory of investigative
reporting is not well known by journalists, such that the stories dont clearly indicate
what is being investigated, there is no clear plan for research, no preparation prior to the
field work and entries show vivid inclination towards one side of the stories.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 246

Investigative reporting is for the accomplished, those who take time and effort to find
out a hidden issue justified by its societal importance using journalistic skills acquired
through training in precision journalism. This media communication format could be
strengthened if taken up by the training institutes and universities as one of the core
courses.

5.6 Upgrading of Skills

Skills, knowledge and attitudes acquired are gradable in training as basic, intermediate
and advanced. At most, tertiary institutions can graduate journalists with basic
professional education. Specialised universities, offering degrees in journalism can deliver
graduates with intermediate qualifications bordering on the advanced. Specialised
institutes can graduate journalists with advanced professional skills.

Media outlets should identify professional staff weakness, or seek assistance to do this.
Once the training needs have been identified then they can either assign mentors on the
job or send journalists to different training institutions. Since the institutes are specialised,
it means their training is selective and geared toward perfecting performances. This is the
realm of short courses. Due to their nature, such upgrading courses are of short duration,
usually a few weeks but not more than two or three months of full-time or part-time
study depending on the platform.

The deepest root cause of poor quality journalism in the country is our
education system and for this case, journalism education in particular. Colleges
and universities should use experienced practitioners to coach students.

The main requirement of any training endeavour is the availability of a trainer. Offering
training in basic courses may not be that much of a problem, but for the intermediate,
advanced and specialised courses, it may be difficult to get trainers. At the current stage
of the development of the media in Zimbabwe, trainers with the requisite academic and
professional qualifications to train journalists at the university level are scarce. This is
with reference to a trainer who has a first and second degree in journalism (not mass
communication or public relations, although they are vital disciplines), coupled with
years of newsroom experience before taking up an academic career.

The universities in Zimbabwe, therefore, have not been a reliable source of advanced and
experienced journalists or trainers, and the only option has been to rely on practicing
professionals from newsrooms and media production houses. However, the daily media
workload of such trainers often denies them the luxury of also moulding professionalism
in an academic environment.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 247

A part-time teaching environment can at best produce a knowledge-based journalist,


because there is not enough time for the trainer to closely supervise assignments and read
or audition productions and therefore the notion that desk-based media professionals can
at the same time serve as a training institution should be re-evaluated.

Furthermore, even if one experienced professional journalist wanted to teach journalism


at the university level, the scheme for employment is highly academic-based
qualifications that few practicing journalists have. Therefore, the making of Zimbabwean
journalists is problematic, especially the lack of appropriate trainers and upgrading
courses for professionals.

5.7 Case for Institute or Academy to Train Journalists at Advanced Level



Editors meeting under the IMPI umbrella unanimously agreed that there is a definite case
for the establishment of an institution whose major purpose would be to train journalists
at an advanced level. Such an institute would be ideal because it would be free to engage
any experienced or professional journalists of whatever age to mould others, particularly
in practical work. Professional retirees could be deployed to harness their wisdom and
skills. This would be the place where individual formats could be taught and practiced at
the highest level possible.

Courses would then be defined for advanced news reporting, feature writing, writing
editorials, investigative reporting, and other key skills that can be taught by the most
accomplished professionals available at home or brought in from abroad. Broadcast
media would benefit the most because so far we have a few journalists who can produce
competitive programmes such as quality documentaries, deep searching interviews,
discussions and investigative stories comparable to any produced by reputable stations
elsewhere in the world.

Specialised training is another area of concern, as it is common in many other countries to


have specialist desks, a situation which previously existed but has been mainly lost
from the media in Zimbabwe, where specialists are more likely to be geographic than
subject-oriented, except for the basic general areas of business, entertainment or
features.

Specialist journalists would be trained to cover finance, culture, health, education, politics,
and certain other national issues such as land and agriculture, parliament, the courts,
certain regional issues such as energy, and possibly some specific bilateral or external
relations issues, as well as international affairs. This is normally implemented by
specialised training for journalists who are already working in the newsroom to add to
their media skills, but can also be implemented by hiring a specialist in a certain field who
then received media training. Journalists assigned to specialise need to know how to read
and research their subject matter, its background, trends and emerging issues.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 248

Training Lessons from Zambia Case Study

The Zambia Institute of Mass Communication ZAMCOM) Educational Trust was established by
an Act of the Zambian Parliament to provide in-service specialized training to practising
journalists.
ZAMCOM is a Trust and is not formally funded by government. However, from time to
time, at the request of the Board of Trustees, government has financially supported the institution
for specific purposes. For example, the government through the Ministry of Information and
Broadcasting Services renders support to the Board of Trustees through salary payment to the
Executive Director.
ZAMCOM is basically a quasi-government institution which some partners treat more or
less like a non-governmental organisation. The institute is run on behalf of Government by a
Board of Trustees comprising eminent Zambian citizens.
In accordance with the registered trust deed, the ZAMCOM trustees consist of a financial
person, a broadcast media person, a print media person, a marketing person, a human resources
person, and a lawyer. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
Services, under which ZAMCOM operates, represents government on the Board of
Trustees. Other trustees include the financial director of a non-governmental organisation
supported by United States government; the director of human resources at one of the major
financial institutions in the country; the deputy managing director of a bank; and others.
ZAMCOM is headed by an Executive Director who is employed by and reports to the
Board of Trustees. Under this position are managers of the following departments: Radio,
Television, HIV and AIDS, Academic, Information Technology (IT) and Finance.
Most of the ZAMCOM finances are generated through the training courses that it
conducts, notably the full-time, three-year Diploma Course in Journalism. ZAMCOM also owns
and operates a lodge which can accommodate participants, and this supplements the revenue
base. At the time of IMPIs visit, the lodge had put in place viable plans to make major
contributions to the Institutes resources. ZAMCOM authorities say the institution is beginning to
show signs of achieving self-sustaining status.

ZAMCOMs Training Courses


For a long time the institute has trained Zambias journalists as well as those from elsewhere in
southern Africa, in specialised courses such as reporting on the environment, HIV and health, rural
news, human rights, covering elections, and computer-based reporting; as well as several
others. Most courses are funded by partners including United Nations agencies, the United States,
Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, as well Panos Southern Africa, the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA) and other local and international development organisations. ZAMCOM graduates
are employed mainly in the newsrooms.
ZAMCOM is registered with the Technical Education and Entrepreneurship Training
Authority (TEVETA) under which it conducts the three-year diploma course in Journalism and
Public Relations. Alternative media training is offered by the University of Zambia, which offers a
degree in Mass Communication, and graduates often find their way into the corporate and NGO
sectors as communications officers.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 249

6 IMPACT OF NEW MEDIA ON JOURNALISM AND MEDIA


CAPACITY
_________________________________________________________

The New Media are among the key challenges facing journalism training in Zimbabwe
today. Similar to many other developing countries, Zimbabwe is characterised by a
scarcity of new media skills and low technology levels, and very limited experience in
journalism training in this regard.

The Internet is increasingly drawing in and changing some of the traditional skills.
Attention has been given to the value of online resources as an input to journalism, with
expanding numbers of courses on computer-assisted journalism, given the emerging
convergence between the online and traditional media.

In addition, there has been a focus on journalistic output for the Internet, such as the
interactive possibilities and what writing style best suits the Internet. Increasingly, the
emphasis has been on the multi-media character of the Internet, and the way this medium
can integrate text, design, photographs, audio and video.

The so-called citizen journalism is an emerging issue that has been discussed at various
fora such as the roundtable of media executives from eastern and southern Africa
organized by Africa University in 2009. The report on proceedings says citizen journalism
should be considered seriously as it has overtaken mainstream media with several
consequences on the definition of the role of media. Examples include platforms on
websites enabling video feeds, voice-overs regularly updated with contributions from
citizen journalists, whose information may or may not be factual. Because there have been
no measures put in place to monitor the type of postings made on these sites, it is difficult
to control the citizen journalist, say through a Code of Ethics, or protect the interests of the
thousands of viewers with access to the news posted on the platforms.

Since year 2000, when 50,000 people had access to the Internet in Zimbabwe, the country
has been on a digital renaissance. The number of people with access has grown to more
than five million spurred by the introduction of 3G technology in 2009. Technology has
changed an entire media industry and created a new role for journalism as well as a need
to build new capacities in a country that now has a 100 percent mobile penetration rate.

At a recent training session on social media and their effect on journalism and newsroom
workflow, held by the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF), veteran journalist and
IMPI chairperson Geoffrey Nyarota mentioned how unsettling the new computer
technology has been to the profession of journalism. He zoomed in on a period in the
1990s when technological developments changed the newsroom in similar fashion to the
manner in which new technological applications such as the Internet have done now.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 250


Vincent Kahiya, the Editor-in-Chief of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH), described that
situation. Top journalists quit the profession and moved on to other spheres because a
computer was too much of a complicated device to adapt to.

The computer in the 1990s in Zimbabwe was disruptive to the practice of journalism, and
media training capacity lagged far behind, but this was only the beginning of more
changes to come that have redefined workflow systems within newsrooms. The arrival of
the Internet has ignited a rapid proliferation of new digital technologies that has caught
mainstream media off-guard.

In his paper on citizen journalism in Zimbabwe, Shepherd Mpofu rightly states that the
Internet, as a forum for power, voice and self-expression, has made it possible for debate
and tensions between the elite and other sectors of society to be experienced in a typical
public sphere fashion online, without intervention from journalists. His report explores
the concept of the reader as the witness and how journalism has tried to adapt to the new
era where production, dissemination and consumption of information have changed. The
result is a fascinating account of journalists struggling to maintain their expertise and
authority, even as they find their principles and skills profoundly challenged by ever
more complex and fast-moving streams of information.

Hayes Mabweazara in his article Normative Dilemmas and Issues for Zimbabwean Print
Journalism in the Information Society Era, sums it up when he writes,
Like the Internet, the mobile phone has also assumed a central role in the dynamics
of the journalists daily routines.

Journalists across the newsrooms studied collectively, highlighted the extent to
which the technologys portability has freed them from the necessity of physical
proximity and the constraining demands of spatial immobility rooted in traditional
modes of communication such as the fixed phone. For the journalists this, among
other communicative potentialities inherent in the mobile phone, has rendered the
technology an indispensable part of their day-to-day work.

What Mabweazara argues, and must be central to the findings of this report, is that the
pervasive nature of the technology (among both elite and mass), combined with the
creative appropriation of its inherent functions such as the Short Message Service (SMS)
by journalists and ordinary citizens alike, is shaping mainstream news-making practices
in subtle but significant ways.

Although the impact of the technology is most visible in moments of crisis and during
major national events such as elections, a close examination of its appropriations points to
a gradual dispersal of the newsroom monopoly in defining what constitutes or counts as
news, particularly in the more liberal private press. While traditional gate-keeping

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 251

processes persist and determine what news is covered in the newsrooms, a closer
examination of the uses of the mobile phone suggests a widening exposure of journalists
to news and a widening participation of citizens in mainstream news-making
mainstream journalists no longer speak ex cathedra(that is by virtue or in the exercise of
ones office or position), as they used to before the advent of the new media age.
(Mabweazara 2011)

Like the Internet, the mobile phone has also assumed a central role in the
dynamics of the journalists daily routines.H Mabweazara


6.1 Challenges of the Digital Era in Journalism
Despite the growth in the use of the mobile phone for access to news, most newsrooms
have either had a slow uptake of the opportunities that the technology has presented or
have faced resistance to change. Below are comments from editors who attended the
ZINEF workshop in Gweru on September 21-22, 2014.

o As a newsroom leader I have to ask myself questions of whether I need to
overburden the reporter with a lot to do for the same salary. What the digital
scope of mind has given us is the understanding that we need all formats of
digital storytelling but the question is -- Do we have the human resources and
equipment to make this happen? (Maxwell Sibanda, assistant editor of The
Daily News)
o Most editors are not tech savvy and the need to improve the way we conduct
ourselves is critical for our reader who has become the witness of news.
(Njabulo Ncube, deputy editor of Southern Eye)
o The media have changed. A journalist needs to be multi-skilled to be relevant
in the current environment. (Nevanji Madanhire, editor of NewsDay).

Although most of the editors present had a working knowledge of news in a digital
sphere, they were reluctant to use new tools such as Twitter, with some suggesting that
reporters were spending too much time on social networks such as YouTube.
o Lawson Mabhena, news editor of Sunday News, cemented this point when he
said: There seems to be a serious conflict between IT and Online departments
on the use of bandwidth consuming applications like YouTube hence the
reporter in the information society era is in need of these tools to be abreast
with breaking news.

Some newsrooms, however, are moving with the times and adopting the trend of using
website and mobile phone reporting.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 252

o The Herald, Daily News, Zimbabwe Mail and Alpha Media Holdings have
adopted the trend of having websites and mobile reporting as a must-have.
o Zimpapers and Alpha Media Holdings have Mobi News that is said to be
hugely popular, and both claim a subscriber base that is nearing a million.
o The Zimbabwe Mail is said to be working on introducing Mobi News, while The
Daily News has introduced a business website as a strategic unit for expanding
their revenue base given the migration of readers.
This shows that while most editors are still struggling to adapt, a major shift in news
culture is underway. However, there is a clear danger in these changes where news
coverage is concerned. The sourcing of news from the Internet, which has been
economically advantageous to the bottom line, has eroded the essence of news. Many
readers take to Twitter every morning to mourn the dropping standards of journalism.

One example of many is the story that appeared in The Chronicle in which the reporter
used a fake Whatsapp conversation purported to be between two celebrities discussing
their sexual encounter. The story was later pulled down as readers attacked the staff using
social media. There was also a high profile error by newzimbabwe.com on the death of Zanu
PF chairman, John Nkomo which turned out to be false and was later discovered to have
been sourced from rumours on social media. Editors in a survey for this report also
expressed concern over the armchair journalism that has worsened matters of plagiarism
as well as verification.

6.1.1 Facebook and Twitter
Most reporters spend more time on Facebook than on Twitter. Twitter is still intimidating to
Zimbabwean journalists and the uptake of its use is slow in newsrooms.

One factor that has contributed to its slow uptake is the high cost of data in Zimbabwe
and the lack of will by employers to assist their newsroom staff in having cheaper data
connection on phones and other personal gadgets.

I know that Twitter is more helpful for what we do as journalists, but I find it to be
technical and that most of the sources in Zimbabwe have Facebook pages than Twitter
handles. I, however, use Twitter to share the stories I write. I do not have many
followers and the scrolling news every second on my feeds is rather disruptive (A
senior political journalist from AMH).

The Editor-in-Chief of AMH, Vincent Kahiya, however, said as AMH policy, every
reporter is expected to be active on Twitter and to share the companys content.
We understand that we do not have digital natives among our journalists, but the reason
why according to Opera we have the most accessed website in Zimbabwe in NewsDay, is
because in our digital first strategy that we adopted and vigorously pursued, social
networks are such an important element because they drive our traffic. All editors are
expected to be on Twitter. It is policy.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 253


However, when it comes down to how Twitter is then being used we notice that
engagement is still a problem and understanding the use of hashtags and other
elements of the Twitter sphere needs training and we are investing in that.

Kahiya is optimistic in pointing out that Zimbabwe has advanced and the consumption of
local content that saw the country as the only one in Africa with four local websites in the
Opera report on mobile phone traffic, shows greater understanding of where the reader is.

6.1.2 Journalism Schools
Zimbabwe had its first Internet Service Provider (ISP) in 1994 and AMH was the first to
have a newspaper website for their business weekly, The Zimbabwe Independent, in 1999.
Back then, little attention was paid to packaging news for the online environment.

In those days, we had to put our content on a floppy disc and give it to a service
provider who designed the website for us for a fee that was not at all flattering,
explained Silent Kamambo, the AMH Business Manager for Digital Products. We
never sourced for adverts and no one among journalists really had interest.

In 1999, website management was outsourced and very little attention was given to it in
the newsroom. Focus was on the print product which raked in the dollars. Other
mainstream media houses in Zimbabwe did not have digital footprints and it is not
difficult to know why.

For news organisations steeped in a traditional system, the Internet phenomenon was
novel. Very few Zimbabweans had Internet access, which reinforced concentration on the
print media. To complicate matters, journalism training remained stuck in the past.

The major journalism training institutions in Zimbabwe have not reformed to align with
the digital ecosystem that now permeates all facets of news dissemination and
consumption. At CCOSA, by 2005 journalism students were still taught typing skills using
old Remington typewriters. To this day there is no module that deals with digital media
at the famed journalism school.

Joseph Katete, a journalist and public relations officer, recalls the training.

In 2003 I had no idea what Yahoo was. I did not have an email or a working idea of
the Internet. We had to hammer those old typewriters with our fingers till they hurt
for the two years I trained to be a journalist at CCOSA. The sad thing is that when I
interned with a big media organisation life was so unbearable for me and many others
coming from other colleges. We had to learn on the job from such basics as using
Microsoft Word to using search engines.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 254

Katetes story is echoed by Moses Matenga, a news reporter with AMH who was at
Harare Polytechnic and graduated in 2009. The computers that had applications like the
Internet were made available to the students in 2009 and it was the year I left the
institution. I do not remember discussing social networks or social media and their impact
on my usage of them in the newsroom. It had to take a lot of self-training to understand
new media. In-house training that is now being made available to journalists is helping.

What Katete and Matenga talk about is an issue that is affecting even universities such as
the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Midlands State University
(MSU). Yet an online editor confronted by this dilemma, did not have ready answers.

At one point I had interviews in search of an intern to be attached to the digital office.
Of the 13 that I spoke to, only two knew how to use Twitter. All of them said the
universities had not prioritized digital media.

Despite these challenges, new technologies in the everyday life of journalism have offered
journalists in the newsrooms unprecedented online opportunities, including new ways of
generating story ideas, as well as engaging and cultivating sources on social networking
sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

This section of the chapter has given insights into practices and cultures emerging with
the advent of the internet and the ubiquitous mobile phone in Zimbabwean newsrooms.
Zimbabwean journalism, as elsewhere, exists in an era of unsettling transitions in which
digital technologies are redefining professional normative values and ideals, and also
reshaping the working day (Mabweazara). The permeation of the Internet and the mobile
phone into newsrooms has resulted in challenges connected to news access, sourcing
routines and the invasion of private space and time. Similarly, traditional ethical concerns
such as plagiarism have taken on new meanings.

Other debates on this subject can be found on key list-servs such as CARR-L, JOURNET
and NEWSLIB; as well as in the online writings of Steve Outing, Nora Paul, John
December, Dominique Paul Noth, JD Lasica, Julian Sher, Christine Ogan and Mindy
McAdams. See also Online Journalism Review, Press Time, and Journal of Computer-Mediated
Communication, and earlier discussions in Bierhoff and Schmidt (1996), Houston (1996),
Garrison (1998), Reddick (1998) and Jones (1999).

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 255


Kenya Institute of Mass Communication (KIMC) Case Study

Respondent Peter Wakoli, Academic Registrar and Deputy Director

The school began in 1965. The sponsor was UNESCO and the initial mandate was to build capacity for
the national broadcaster, Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, formerly Voice of Kenya.

Through a Legal Notice 197 of December 2012, KIMC acquired a new status and is now a
semi-autonomous government agency. Its new mandate is to train middle level media

professionals/practitioners specialising in television and radio production, film/video production,
broadcast journalism, print journalism and telecommunication and electronic engineering.

The institute also offers country media training for Kenya but also for East Africa: Tanzania,
Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi; and beyond, including Sudan, Zambia, Somalia and Gambia.

Vision

To become a centre of excellence in technical and professional mass media training in the region.


Strategic Goals
o Ensure availability of competent trained and skilled manpower to the ICT and broadcasting

sectors.
o Contribute to the growth of a knowledge-based society by ensuring competent media

practitioners facilitate the public to access information.
o Improve gathering, storage, analysis and dissemination of credible programmes through its

training frequencies and partnering in training.

Training Levels

Professionals/Practitioners from KIMC


Newsroom and production managers

Television and radio producers
Film/video producers

Broadcast journalists
Print journalists

Advertising practitioners
Public relations practitioners

Media technologists
Telecommunication and electronics engineers

Graphic animators

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 256


KIMC continued

Digital Migration
The institute is preparing its students with a view to capitalise on digital migration. The media
industry is looking at multi-skilling to provide not only for specialisation but also to enable these
students to multi-task.
We want them to look at creating jobs for themselves. The industry at large has no time to
be involved in training. The student who leaves here must be able to hit the ground running. Now
we are looking at 60 percent theory and 40 percent practical, says Peter Wakoli. Kenyas new
broadcasting legislation demands 60 percent local content, which must come from the students
being churned out by the institute.

New initiative
The students are taught entrepreneurship and business management, which is a full module. KIMC

has its own station and studios that do live broadcasting on radio. The station is called Educational
Communication Network and broadcasts in the vicinity of the school. The school has 800 students
and more than 300 graduating every year.

New Media
To respond to the fast-changing trends in content consumption and technology, the institute began
a course in online journalism as well as on animation to indigenise cartoons.

Involvement of Media Houses


The involvement of media owners is in curriculum development and placement of interns.

7 Proposal for a Journalism Training Institution in Zimbabwe

_____________________________________________________

The inquiry by the Thematic Committee on Training, Training Capacity and Ethics
established that there is a strong need to significantly improve basic journalism training in
Zimbabwe, as well as a need to develop national capacity to offer such training, including
the setting up of a special structure, reforming and strengthening of some existing
institutions and systems, including training curricula.

The committee suggests some short-term interventions to improve current programmes.


But it strongly recommends that both government and the media industry should invest
jointly in the establishment of an independent journalism training institute or academy, to
provide functional and practical basic training in journalism and address the lack of a
systematic and professional mid-career training of journalists.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 257

The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) could use part of the revenue that it receives
from the industry to support such media training institution.

7.1 Findings and Recommendations for such Journalism Training School


The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) says there are few, if any,
journalism training institutions, because tertiary training centres focus on courses in
media and community studies at university level, producing academics rather than
journalists.

Local and international media and civil society groups have stepped into the training
arena by offering needs-based, short-term courses in various fields, but these efforts
cannot be a substitute for a properly organized national media and journalism training
programme.

Although on the surface, there is high unemployment among media and journalism
graduates a reflection of the high unemployment rate in the formal sector training
must adopt a long-term view. The media and information sector is expected to expand
significantly in the next couple of years with new radio and television stations,
newspapers and other media platforms absorbing graduates from this sector.

Zimbabwe, therefore, needs to establish a new institution or to transform at least one of


the existing journalism training colleges into a professional Journalism Training
Academy, offering comprehensive reporting courses across the sectors to graduates
already trained in other fields such as law, business, finance, economics, science and the
environment, to mention some disciplines.

Generally speaking, the proposed training institution could be modelled on aspects of the
Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg, ZAMCOM in Lusaka, and
KIMC in Nairobi.

Training in the proposed institution would be likely to benefit journalists with at least a
first degree in the field they would like to specialise in. Recruitment would, therefore, be
limited to holders of a university degree. In his book, Against the grain, Memoirs of a
Zimbabwean Newsman, (Zebra Press, 2006), Geoffrey Nyarota writes of my personal
vision of starting a newspaper that would be staffed by medical doctors, lawyers,
sociologists, economists, politicians, farmers, human rights activists, statisticians,
sportsmen and entertainers who had also trained as journalists.

Media houses, news networks and training institutions would co-operate in developing
training modules and the training of trainers in various fields of journalism. Due diligence
should be exercised when selecting trainers to ensure that the candidates have requisite
skills in their respective fields. More preferably they should have practical newsroom
experience and should be active in journalism practice so that they are aware of current
changes in the industry. They should be appointed on the basis of appropriate skills
rather than impressive paper qualifications.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 258

Trainees will acquire relevant experience of practical journalism on a laboratory


newspaper produced by the institution during the training course, as well as experience
on a community radio station, serving the area of the training school.

In such an institution, special basic English writing classes would be imperative. Inability
to write in proper English is one of the handicaps experienced by todays young
journalists. Training colleges attribute this endemic problem to the decline in the level of
English taught in secondary schools.

The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services must take a greater
oversight role for journalism and media training programmes, alongside the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, including in helping to mobilise
resources for the establishment of such an institution.

The curriculum of the proposed academy should include courses in management


leadership skills to help editors run their institutions better, but also to help them become
thought leaders in the communications industry. Journalism training would keep up with
emerging trends, especially in internet-based Digital/New Media, while adopting a multi-
media approach to delivering stories.

The editor-in-chief of Alpha Media Holdings, Vincent Kahiya, said while the group had
benefited from training sponsored by local and international media organisations, its
focus now is on developing capacity for convergence journalism. The programme had
already started by merging the newsrooms of its weekly and daily newspapers, and
getting a technical expert to help with the convergence. Such approach would be
incorporated in the curriculum planning for the proposed institution.

Although mainly local trainers would staff the institutions and would be capacitated to
do so, the Ministry of Information should facilitate immigration procedures for foreign
professionals and experts invited by the institution to participate in the training process.

Trainers should be remunerated in a way that is commensurate with standards in


southern Africa and attractive enough to retain a range of top skills, on a full- or part-time
basis.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 259

8 KEY RECOMMENDATIONS INFORMATION &
FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF A SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM MEDIA PANEL OF
AND CRITERIA FOR OTHER TRAINING INSTITUTIONS INQUIRY

8.1 Zimbabwe must establish its own School of Journalism, a world class institution standing
shoulder to shoulder with the best in the world, with the minimum entry requirement
being a first degree.

8.2 The country needs to establish a new institution or to transform at least one of the
existing media and journalism training colleges into a Higher Journalism Training
Academy, offering comprehensive reporting courses across the sectors to graduates
trained in other fields such as law, business, finance, economics, science and the
environment.

8.3 Journalism training needs to keep up with emerging trends, especially in internet-based
Digital/New Media while adopting a multi-media approach to delivering stories.

8.4 Zimbabwe must also consider establishing a special Radio and Television Academy for
building capacity in a professional area thats a strong feature of the media
landscape, including radio reporting, television reporting, and documentaries. The
broadcasting training sector needs help with training equipment. There is also need to
invest resources in developing photojournalism in colleges.

8.5 Zimbabwe needs to invest in short, medium and long term training, and continue to
train people to teach, operate equipment, build systems, write and produce material,
and translate productions into other languages. Colleges need clear staff development
programmes, including specialisation.

8.6 A separate body should be established to promote and monitor training standards in
media colleges and other institutions, including reviewing modules and recommending
changes in response to a changing environment.

8.7 The Ministry of Media, Information and Broadcasting Services must take a greater
oversight role in media and journalism training programmes, alongside the Ministry of
Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology, and help to mobilise resources
for this purpose.

8.8 The media industry and media and journalism colleges must find ways of accessing
governments Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF) to support training.

8.9 In the short-term, Zimbabwe media and journalism departments require assistance in
procuring books, equipment and establishing teaching laboratories.

8.10 Universities and colleges need assistance in organising or accessing workshops for
training of trainers to help staff to pick up new teaching skills, especially in journalism.
....continued

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 260

RECOMMENDATIONS

FOR COURSE DEVELOPMENT, INFORMATION &


MEDIA HOUSES, OUTREACH, AND LICENSING MEDIA PANEL OF
INQUIRY

8.11 The medium to long-term staff development programmes, including staff


exchange programmes and the current process of curriculum review should help to
raise the level of journalism in the country, but if the major training institutions stay
centred on media studies, this will not build capacity in journalism.

8.12 Media colleges must include courses in management/leadership skills to help


editors to run their institutions, but also to become thought leaders in the
communication industry.

8.13 Universities and media colleges should consider establishing affiliate satellite
departments at provincial polytechnics to offer journalism and media studies
diplomas, and to run special summer or winter schools on specific subjects.

8.14 The media industry should establish career guidance outreach programmes to
help students to make informed decisions about entering the profession.

8.15 Media houses should continue with in-house training covering a wide range of
subjects, including basic reporting and editing skills, feature writing, newsroom
management, specialist desks, ethics, media law and gender mainstreaming.

8.16 Media houses should invest in a strong, competent and confident leadership in
the newsroom to help junior staff in skills development, including research,
verification, use of data, interviewing techniques, and story construction.

8.17 Media houses should plan to develop their own training programmes, supported by
internal budgets and human resources similar to the cadet scheme run by
Zimbabwe Newspapers in the 1970s or the early days of The Daily News.

8.18 There should be strict conditions for licensing of journalism training institutions which
include radio and television studio facilities, practical newsroom set-ups, modern
training equipment such as cameras, and skilled and competent staff. The
institutions should invest in transport to allow practical news gathering and reporting.

8.19 No institution should be given a license if it does not meet these basic
requirements because it will short-change the trainees and lead to poor journalism
standards. Those offering dubious diploma and certificate programmes should be
closed forthwith because they are compromising journalism standards.

8.20 Production Services and the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust should be revived to
support the industry, especially with training and capacity building.
..continued

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 261

INFORMATION &
RECOMMENDATIONS

ON POLICY FOR MEDIA TRAINING


MEDIA PANEL OF
AND CAPACITY BUILDING INQUIRY

8.21 The Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services should


develop a clear national policy framework on media and journalism training,
working closely with the industry.

8.22 Training institutions, media organisations and the media industry should
establish a functional official platform to discuss training issues and to engage
with government.

8.23 All media training institutions must be registered with the appropriate
authorities for higher and tertiary education, and for media.

8.24 Media training institutions may offer degrees or diplomas, post-graduate,


certified short courses, as well as media training for other disciplines, but content
must be developed with an industry structure (see 6.22) and approved by
appropriate authorities, and must be sensitive to gender issues.

8.25 Media institutions should take responsibility for ongoing training and
mentoring, whether in-house or supported external courses, and should develop
in-house training policies in this regard.

8.26 Media institutions and media training institutions should invest in appropriate
technology and equipment for training purposes.

8.27 Journalism and media training and capacity building must respond to the
needs and objectives of the country, and offer a holistic basic training as well as
a range of training in specialized subjects and investigative reporting. Partnering
with recognized training institutions in other countries should be considered.

8.28 A National Film Board should be established. The current proposal should be
seriously considered by government, discussed with industry and refined as
necessary, and appropriate legislation enacted.

8.29 Media practitioners should take responsibility for their own self-development,
and also support training capacity building by mentoring others.

8.30 Media training and training capacity must respond to the needs of new
media, new technology and prepare existing and new practitioners for the
expansion of electronic media through digitisation in 2015.

IMPI

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 262

9APPENDIX
_____________

9.1 LIST OF STAKEHOLDER INTERVIEWS



The main focus of the study was engagement with major media stakeholders, as follows.

Training institutions interviewed included:
Harare Polytechnic School of Journalism and Media Studies
Christian College of Southern Africa (CCOSA),
UMMA Institute
Business Environment Services Group of Colleges (BES)
Department of Journalism and Media Studies of the National University of Science
and Technology (NUST)
Midlands State Universitys Department of Media and Society Studies,
Speciss College
Trust Academy
Lifelong Education College (Pvt) Ltd
Zimbabwe Institute of Visual Arts (ZIVA), and
Zimbabwe Film and Television School of Southern Africa (ZIFTESSA).

Stakeholders interviewed included media houses such as:
Zimbabwe Newspapers,
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
Alpha Media Holdings (AMH),
The Financial Gazette,
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation,
Transmedia Corporation (Pvt) Ltd.

Professional media bodies interviewed included:
The Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ),
Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF),
Journalism and Media Trainers Association of Zimbabwe (JAMTAZ),
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ).

Civil society organisations included:
Media Institute of Southern Africa(MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter,
Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ),
Humanitarian Information Facilitation Centre (HIFC),
Zimbabwe Association of Community Radio Stations (ZACRAS),
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ).

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 263


Cooperating partners or the donor community included:
Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES),
United States Aid for International Development (USAID),
United Kingdom International Development Agency (UKaid),
The Dutch international development organisation, HIVOS,
Norway,
Sweden,
Netherlands,
International Media Services (IMS),
Public Affairs Section of the United States Embassy (PAS US),
The United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Regulatory agencies interviewed included the now-disbanded Standards Development
and Research Unit (SDERU) of the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education and the
Higher Education Examinations Council (HEXCO).


9.2 LITERATURE REVIEW REFERENCES

African Media Barometer, Zimbabwe, 2012


Pat Made, Journalism Training in Zimbabwe, 2009
Training Project Analysis, Report for VMCZ, 2010
Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Media Policy Framework, 2013
On Air: Zimbabwe, OSISA, 2009
Reporting Beyond the Crisis in Zimbabwe, Select Reading, 2009
State of South African Newsrooms, University of Witwatersrand, 2013


9.3 RECOMMENDATIONS BY TWO LEADING TRAINING
INSTITUTIONS
9.3.1 HARARE POLYTECHNIC COLLEGE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM AND
MEDIA STUDIES

Preamble

The School of Journalism and Media Studies at Harare Polytechnic College offers a one-
year National Certificate (NC) course in Mass Communication and a two-year diploma in
Mass Communication. Students specialise in print or broadcast journalism after
completing their NC.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 264

There are gender considerations at recruitment stage and equal numbers of males and
females are taken in at the beginning of the NC course. The School of Journalism and
Media Studies has an internet lab with full connectivity for print and broadcast classes.
There is also a fully-fledged radio studio which broadcasts for the local Harare
Polytechnic community and a television studio with a control room. Broadcast students
have at their disposal four HDV cameras, four audio recorders and two Apple computers
for editing.

Journalism students studying print journalism use the Apple computers and four 6D
canon cameras for photo-journalism practical lessons. The trainees undergo practical
studies outside Harare Polytechnic and the college invested in a 63-seater bus and a 30-
seater minibus to transport students. In addition there are four double-cab vehicles to
traverse rough terrain.

The NC and ND programmes aim to provide skills to students in order for them to gain
employment in the various media fields. The students have a Press Club where prominent
people in media and other fields are invited to share their experiences every week. Guest
lecturers are invited during the week to impart skills in their areas of expertise. The mass
communication programme empowers students for self-employment through an
entrepreneurial skills development programme.

Proposals for improvement of standards of Journalism Training

1. Media Stakeholders
There is need for close cooperation between media trainers and stakeholders in the
media industry to allow for exchange of ideas, in view of the fast-changing
developments in journalism training and practice. The stakeholders are the end-
users and need to be involved in both curriculum development and review that
should be undertaken regularly. The stakeholders should contribute to training
through the guest lecturing programme which should be systematic rather than
random as is the case at the moment. Where possible they should help capacitate
media training institutions through facilitating funding and procurement of
equipment.

2. Remuneration of Trainers

Trainers should be adequately remunerated in a way that is commensurate with


standards in southern Africa. Training institutions should get a cue from the Judiciary
Services Commission which is lobbying for salaries of their members to be in line with
practices in SADC countries. Another example is the Medical Professional Council which
was allowed to hike fees with government recently to allow for quality service delivery.
This lessens the practice where lecturers hassle to survive; thereby ensuring trainers
totally commit themselves to the task at hand.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 265

3. Appointment of Media Trainers

Due diligence should be taken when selecting trainers to ensure that the candidates have
requisite skills in their respective fields. They should preferably have practical newsroom
experience and should be active in journalism practice so that they are aware of current
changes in their profession, in particular, and in the industry, in general. They should be
appointed on the basis of skill rather than paper qualifications.

4. Specialisation

There should be clear distinction between training institutions that focus on media
research and those that train journalists. Currently, the line is blurred.

5. Facilities

There should be strict conditions for licensing of journalism training institutions which
include radio and television studio facilities, practical newsroom set ups, modern training
equipment such as cameras and skilled and competent staff. The institutions should have
their own transport to allow for practical news-gathering and reporting. No institution
should be given a license if it does not meet these requirements because it will short-
change the trainees which leads to poor journalism standards. Those institutions that offer
dubious diplomas and certificates are flooding the market with half-baked trainees and
should be closed forthwith because they are compromising journalism standards.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission should be involved in the accreditation and licensing
of journalism and media training institutions and must keep a record of all reputable
journalism training institutions so that students make informed choices on where they
wish to train. The ZMC and media stakeholders should regularly scrutinise journalism
training curricula to ensure they are in line with new forms of journalism, such as data
journalism, gender journalism, science reporting, environmental reporting, disability and
community and developmental journalism, some of which are currently non-existent.

6. Capacity Building for trainers

Journalism trainers should periodically go on capacity building workshops and


rotationally participate in regional and international journalism review symposiums.
Where possible they must go on professional attachment with leading regional and
international media houses such as British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Al Jazeera,
Cable News Network (CNN), and South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC), as
used to be the case. Institutions should also create linkages with premier journalism
training institutions such as Columbia School of Journalism in New York, which educates
and trains students, from all over the world, to become accomplished professional
journalists; Rhodes School of Journalism and Media Studies in Grahamstown, the Poynter
Institute in St Petersburg, Florida, and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in
Johannesburg, to mention some. This is to allow for acquisition of relevant skills in
journalism practice and training.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 266

7. Summer and Winter Schools

Media stakeholders must be actively involved in refresher workshops that seek to


improve skills of practising journalists. The refresher courses should be led by training
institutions as a quality control measure and to ensure that skills are retained and
cascaded to trainees. In the current set up, various organisations are running dubious
capacity building workshops where the prime emphasis is on monetary gain for the
participants, with some of the opportunities being recycled among a select few.

8. Languages

In line with government policy on inclusive education and development, training


institutions should prioritise teaching of indigenous and national languages. This ensures
that journalists are empowered to cover stories in remote areas and that minority groups
are not overlooked in reporting. Foreign languages such as French, German and
Portuguese should also be offered as options in journalism training institutions to
empower trainees and to increase their employability.

9. Ethics

There should be a uniform code of ethics in training that regulates how issues such as
plagiarism are dealt with. Enrolment should be strictly on merit and not a situation where
students are recommended by politicians and other influential people to undergo
journalism training, even if they do not meet the basic recruitment requirements.

9.3.2 MIDLANDS STATE UNIVERSITYS MEDIA AND SOCIETY STUDIES


DEPARTMENT

The major criticism has often been about the poor quality or calibre of the graduate who
seeks employment in journalism. This problem is also often implicated on the large
numbers which are recruited by media and journalism training institutions.

The following recommendations are proposed:

Journalism does not have a recognized and respected self-regulatory institution which can
instruct on student recruitment numbers and other critical needs, such as what the Law
and Medical societies do in informing trends in tertiary institutions.

Such an institution is necessary and ought to be recognised under the law so that when it
makes decisions over matters pertaining to journalism training such decisions are binding
and respected. Training licenses can be revoked if training institutions refuse to adhere to
agreed standards and recruitment caps.

There is need to unbundle media studies and introduce a specialized journalism degree so
that newsrooms recruit personnel specifically trained for the print and broadcasting

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 267

sector. Media Studies graduates tend to be Jack-of-All-Trades in comparison to journalism
students whose training is more focused. The most critical aspects of the Media Studies
programme will be retained in the journalism programme. Indeed, media graduates have
served the journalism industry reasonably during Zimbabwes most difficult years,
notwithstanding the criticism levelled against the type of graduate by many stakeholders.

A student who majors in journalism would be a best reflection of whether the present
journalism curricula are suitable or not for the countrys informational and
communication objectives. The media graduates should not be compromised since their
employment opportunities over the years have largely been found beyond journalism and
newsrooms. Many are communication and public relations officers in non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), parastatals and government departments which do not necessarily
require the strict practical application of journalism.

A proper journalism training institute should be started at one of the leading universities,
and graduates from this institution should be the beacon of best journalism practices and
pacesetters in the industry. The curriculum of this institute should adopt the basic
minimum module or course requirements from the UNESCO curriculum for journalism.

The Media and Society Studies Department at Midlands State University has formulated
modules and regulations for a Journalism Degree and a Corporate Communications
degree to be offered separately from the current Media and Society Studies degree. The
regulations are in the process of being circulated to stakeholders in industry so that they
make their input and also write supporting letters to confirm the need for such
specialized degree programmes.

The journalism training module also provides space for more teaching and scholarly
encounters between students and practicing journalists. Experienced editors will have the
opportunity to teach and examine students in selected modules. The support of
stakeholders in approving the new journalism and corporate communications regulations
is going to make strides towards the redressing of the often cited criticism of the poor
calibre of media graduates the country currently produces.

The language use and writing proficiency of the current crop of journalists have also been
decried by many. One way to recruit the best language users is to insist on language and
general knowledge entrance examinations for aspiring media and journalism students.
These examinations should be conducted over and above the ZIMSEC and Cambridge
Ordinary and Advanced Level qualifications.

The public examination system at secondary school level has let through graduates who
can barely read or write, let alone construct grammatically sensible sentences. The root of
the problem is arguably the removal of lessons in grammar at primary school level.
English examinations at primary and secondary school levels are testing for general sense
and not the actual proper ways in which the sense is expressed.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 268

Crude versions of English with a Zimbabwean flavour or perspective are then
accommodated with regrettable results. Such relaxations of terms for examination can
make sense in some sectors where language and meaning are negotiable to a certain
extent, but the fields of media and journalism studies rely on the erudite use of language.
The lower level language teaching structures of our system should be revisited because
there cannot be miracles in language writing at tertiary level when the foundation is not
insisting on what is required by the journalism and media industry.

It is however true that sub-editing skills have also degenerated due to loss of the older
generation of sub-editors. There is still no strict journalism and sub-editing qualification
in the country or region. The industry has largely relied on former English or other
language teachers who are then trained to apply their linguistic skills in line with
journalism expectations. Their total lack of journalistic skills undermines the faith reposed
in them by reporters. As a result they merely sub copy and lay out pages without
providing any journalistic guidance on the basis of any superior journalistic skills.

What is needed is a consistent programme to train sub-editors, preferably through a post-


graduate diploma programme of not more than one year duration.

9.4 PROPOSALS BY INDEPENDENT PRODUCERS TO REJUVENATE


AND CAPACITATE THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA PRODUCTION SECTOR
1. There is need to compile a pool of competent trainers who will be used from time to
time to conduct workshops in special areas of need, like feature writing, financial
reporting, television reporting, television documentaries, reporting for radio.

2. Capacitate the trainers to improve their skills and motivation.

3. Compel media houses to arrange for staff to attend regular short courses or workshops.

4. Come up with a Code of Ethics by which all media houses will be bound.

5. Insist on the appointment of qualified and experienced personnel to senior positions in


the media.

6. Avoid political interference in story and programme content.

7. Appoint competent people, including media practitioners to media boards.

8. Revive the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust to resume its original functions.

9. Transform ZBC into a public broadcaster with more people-oriented programmes, thus
giving the ordinary people a voice.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 269

10. Allow for more competition in broadcasting by licensing more stations, both radio and
television to create competition and thus improve quality.

11. License community radio stations and learn from experiences of other African
countries (catering for different interest groups, etc).

12. Reduce or scrap duty to enable importation of modern equipment.

13. Educate legislators and government officials on the role played by the media in society
and the importance of availing information on time.

14. Revive the public relations role of the Ministry of Media, Information and
Broadcasting Services to assist practitioners to gain access to information from
government ministries and departments.

15. Support incentives such as the national journalism and media awards, and the
National Arts and Merit Awards, as they play a vital role in promoting excellence.

16. ZBC to be encouraged to pay market rates for content submitted by independent
producers. They are currently flouting their own commissioning policies by giving
producers only two-and-a-half minutes airtime for a 30-minute programme, which
amounts to less than $1500 and a fee not even enough to compile a music show. That is
why most commissioned programmes on ZTV are talk shows that are cheaper to produce.
Independent producers say the national institution is abusing them because of its
monopoly and they know that the producers have no alternative for their visual works.

17. Producers also called on government to revive the Production Services Department
that used to create employment by engaging independent producers to work on various
programmes such as audio/visual music productions and documentaries.

18. The department can set up information kiosks in rural areas with independent
producers producing the material such as audio/visuals on parliamentary proceedings,
agriculture, mining, health, education and any information on ZimAsset.

19. The department can acquire television production equipment that can be hired out to
talented producers who may not have resources to start production work.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 270

9.5 PROPSOAL FOR NATIONAL FILM BOARD

FILM POLICY PROPOSAL

RE-SUBMITTED TO: HON. MIN. PROF J. MOYO

MINISTER OF INFORMATION, MEDIA AND BROADCASTING


SERVICES

SUBMITTED BY: THE ZIMBABWE FILM INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

SUBMITTED: ON BEHALF OF ZIMBABWEAN FILMMAKERS

DATE OF RE- SUBMISSION: 25/10/2013

______________________________________

THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD (NAFIB)


____________________________
To make further and better provision for the development of a dynamic, professional and self-
sustaining Zimbabwean film-making industry that is globally competitive and to provide for
matters incidental to or connected with the foregoing.

ARRANGEMENT OF SECTIONS

1) Short Title and date of commencement


2) Interpretation
3) Objects of the National Film Board (NAFIB)
4) Powers and duties of the National Film Board
5) Establishment and Composition of the Board
6) General Criteria for Membership of the Board
7) Tenure and vacation of office of the National Film Board
8) Meetings of the National Film Board
9) Establishment and Composition of the Executive Committee of the Board
10) Appointment of Sub-Committees of National Film Board
11) Establishment and Composition of the Film Classification Sub-Committee herein known as
the FCC.
12) Classification of Films
13) Attendance at Film Exhibitions
14) Distribution and marketing of Films
15) Registration and Licensing of Film Exhibition Premises
16) Registration of film exhibition operators with the Copyright Office
17) Appointment and Role of the Executive Secretary and the National Film Board Secretariat
18) Conditions of Service of Staff of the secretariat
19) Financing Operations of the Board
20) Submission of Income and Expenditure estimates to the Minister
21) Establishment of a National Film Fund (NAFF)

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 271

PREAMBLE
Whereas the National Film Board is constituted and incorporated into one body politic and
corporate with perpetual succession and with power to sue and be sued;
And whereas it is desirable that the National Film Board should be constituted by and under the
law of Zimbabwe.

Now therefore be it enacted by the President and the Parliament of Zimbabwe.

1) SHORT TITLE AND DATE OF COMMENCEMENT
(i) This Act may be cited as the National Film Board Act, 20.
(ii) This Act shall come into operation on such date as the President may specify by notice
in the Government Gazette.
2) INTERPRETATION
In this Act----
board means
membership to National Film Board means
Tenure of Office means
Meetings of the Board means
Executive Committee means
sub-committees means
film Classification Sub-Committee means
attendance at Film Exhibitions means
distribution and marketing of Films means
registration and Licensing of Premises means
registration with the Copyright Office means
revocation or suspension of License means
notices means
appointment and role of Executive secretary means
secretariat staff means
conditions of service means
funds of the board means
levys means
State lottery support means
tax breaks means
tax shelters means
entertainment tax means
the Minister means
national film fundmeans
Film Development Fund means
film fund means
Bursaries means
students means
training workshops means
film conferences means
television series means
film festivals means
specialized productions means
script development means
feature films means
commercial film revolving fund means

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 272

3) OBJECTIVES OF THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD

The objects of the National Film Board are:


} giving of meaningful state support for the professional development of the film sector,
} enhancing the operational capacity of Zimbabwean owned film production houses,
} promoting the training of Zimbabwean crew in all departments and levels to first class
standards,
} promoting and protecting the patronage of Zimbabwean films by Zimbabwean audiences
and viewers, and
} spearheading the marketing and distribution of Zimbabwean film products nationally,
regionally and internationally.
And for these objects the National Film Board shall, subject to the provisions of this Act and in
addition to any other powers conferred by this Act have the following Powers and Duties------

4) POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE BOARD

a) To establish a well-endowed and sustainable film fund which can ensure the competitiveness of
the local film industry by soliciting for funds from government, from institutions and organizations
and from film industry stakeholders in Zimbabwe and from abroad but always mindful of the
sanctity of national objectives of the film sector in Zimbabwe.

b) To facilitate the implementation of existing regulatory quotas for the exhibition of local content
from independent production houses on all television stations in the country.

c) To encourage the adoption of a national code of ethics for the film sector based on the
aspirations and practices of various film related associations in the country as part of safeguarding
professional standards of local productions and publicly exhibited local film products.

d) To network with filmmaking and film supporting institutions at home and abroad and, where
appropriate, facilitate the establishment of co-production treaties with other countries and
ensure favourable quota system for locals in all crews.

e) To encourage the private sector to actively participate in financing local film as part of business
and as a way of qualifying for tax rebates from appropriate taxation authorities.

f) To levy all commercial film products distributed and exhibited in Zimbabwe and collect fees
from registration of premises intended for exhibition of film as well as from libraries and shops
which sell and or rent out films including fees from Pay TV and an agreed percentage of takings
from the state lottery to contribute to the national film fund.

g) To establish strategic and productive linkages between the film sector in the country and the
various cultural industries, the broadcasting services and the National Arts Council.

h) To support the establishment of nationwide film distribution company with a capacity to liaise
meaningfully with other regional and international film distribution companies.

i )To lobby for and support the capitalization of local production houses through state guaranteed
loans.

j) To lobby for and support the exemption of duty on specific film production, training and
exhibition equipment.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 273

k) To facilitate immigration procedures for foreign professionals invited by local production
houses and other film organizations to develop skills.

l) To support the establishment of first class national film and video training institutions and
provide scholarships to deserving students and practicing professionals for further training both
at home and abroad.

m) To promote and support the introduction of film education at primary and secondary schools
and at colleges and at all levels of society as well as the mentoring of entry filmmakers by
established filmmakers.

n) To establish and support the Film Classification sub- Committee (FCC) to classify films before
they are distributed and exhibited in return for a small fee.

o) To provide detailed guidelines to be used by the FCC to determine films which suit specific age-
groups for viewing purposes etc. and to provide operational definitions in regard to sex, violence
and nudity.

p) To establish easily accessible film viewing venues at local and national levels and promote the
use of mobile cinema for disadvantaged rural and urban communities.

q) To establish national cinema in each provincial capital and promote the regular celebration of
local film successes especially those screen products which reflect women and childrens
perspectives and role in society.

r) To support training in film evaluation and/or criticism for established and trainee journalists
and vigorously facilitate media coverage for all ongoing film activities through all media platforms.

s) To promote the use of African languages, African cultural practices, popular African
achievements and aspirations in the production of films.

t) To promote the setting up of information desks on Zimbabwean films in all embassies of


Zimbabwe.

u) To strengthen all locally owned film festivals and promote the establishment of film festivals in
each provincial capital.

v) To support the participation of local film makers and the exhibition of their products at
international film festivals.

x) To establish both national and internationally accessible publications concerning Zimbabwean


film activities and products.

y) To work closely with law enforcement agents to eradicate piracy in the film sector and to work
closely with the copyright office to promote compliance with the laws regulating copyright and
the disbursement of royalties to filmmakers.

z) To support meaningful research activities on film and the audio-visual sector and to compile
and maintain a comprehensive data-base of persons, institutions, organizations and facilities and
services pertaining to the audio-visual sector in the country.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 274

5) ESTABLISHMENT AND COMPOSITION OF THE BOARD

a) There shall be established a board officially entitled The National Film Board (NAFIB)
consisting no fewer than 10 and no more than 15 members.

b) The members shall be appointed by the Minister from the parent ministry from a short list
of no more than 25.

c) Nominations for inclusion in the short list shall be obtained from the film sector, the,
broadcasting services, the legal fraternity, the financial sector, national film training schools
,business, HR and marketing sectors, from Ministry of Media, Information And Publicity, from
Ministry of Education, Sports , Arts and Culture and from Ministry of Tourism and the
Hospitality Industry.

d) A panel appointed by the minister and headed by the Permanent Secretary of the parent
ministry shall interview the nominees and make recommendations for appointment to the
minister.

e) The chairperson of the board shall be appointed by the minister from amongst the
members of the board and such a person shall be the chairperson for the period for which the
person was appointed as a member of the board.

f) If the chairperson of the board is absent from a meeting of the board, members present at
that meeting shall appoint one of their members to preside over that meeting.

g) No member of the board shall serve on the board on a full-time basis.

h) Members of the board shall, in respect of their service, receive such allowances as
generally determined by the state.

i) Members of the board who apply for grants or loans from the NAFIB during their tenure of
office shall excuse themselves from the adjudication process to avoid conflict of interest
situations.

j) At least half of the Board members should be drawn from the film sector.

6) GENERAL CRITERIA FOR MEMBERSHIP TO THE NATIONAL FILM BOARD

Members of the National Film Board shall be persons who:

a) Have comprehensive knowledge and or experience in film and the audio-visual sector
b) Have specialist skills which may not be directly related to film and the audio-visual sector
but which would be beneficial to the functioning of the board e.g. accounting skills,
management skills etc.
c) Have no record of conviction for serious offenses and no record of imprisonment for such
offenses.
d) Have no record as un-rehabilitated insolvents.
e) Have no record as being mentally unsound.
f) Are citizens of Zimbabwe and are 30 years or above in age.
g) Are people who have achieved some prominence in their professional fields.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 275

7) TENURE AND VACATION OF OFFICE

A member of the board shall vacate office if he or she:

a) Becomes disqualified according to laid down regulations and requirements.

b) Has, without leave of the board, been absent from four consecutive meetings of the board.

c) For medical reasons becomes incapacitated in ways which would make it difficult for him or
her to carry out duties and responsibilities as expected by the board.

d) Submits a letter of resignation to the chairperson of the board, and a copy of the same
letter to the minister.

e) Resigns, dies, is removed from office, or is for sufficient reasons unable to act as a
member, the minister shall, in consultation with the board, appoint another person for the
unexpired portion of the members term of office.

f) Has held office for a period of four years and shall be eligible for reappointment after a
further four years have elapsed.

g) Is removed from office by the board for reasons related to undoubted incompetence,
obvious lack of commitment, non-attendance at meetings, and/or for behavior likely to cause
damage to the integrity and or standing of the board.

h) However when the terms of reference and conditions stipulated in Section 4 (see ag
above ) have been duly considered and where necessary, implemented, and the term of office
of the entire board has come to an end, a third of members of the board shall be re-
appointed to serve for a further four years (for purposes of continuity and retention of
experience) after which they shall not be eligible for re- appointment until a further four years
have elapsed.

8) MEETINGS OF THE BOARD

a) The board shall meet at least four times a year, and such meetings shall be held at times
and places determined by the chairperson and agreed to by the board members.

b) The chairperson of the board may at any time convene a special meeting of the board,
which shall be held at such time and place as the chairperson may direct.

c) A quorum of the Board shall be a majority of its sitting members.

d) Any decision of the Board shall be taken by resolution of the majority of the members
present at any meeting of the Board and, in the event of an equality of votes on any matter,
the chairperson presiding at the meeting in question shall have a casting vote in addition to
his or her deliberative vote as a member of the Board.

e) A member of the Board shall not vote or participate in proceedings at any meeting of the
Board nor be present at the venue where such a meeting is held if, in relation to any matter
before the board, he or she has any interest which precludes him or her from performing his
or her functions as a member of the Board in a fair, unbiased and proper manner.

Report of the Official Inquiry into the State of the Information and Media Industry in Zimbabwe 276

9) EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE BOARD

The Board shall establish an executive committee:

a) Which shall consist of the Chairperson of Board, and such other members of the Board as
the Board may determine, but which shall not exceed a third of the Boards total
membership at the time.
b) Which shall, subject to the direction of the Board, exercise the powers and perform the
duties conferred upon it by the mandate outlined in the objects of the Board.
c) Whose chairperson shall be the chairperson of the Board.
d) Which shall meet at times and places as the chairperson of that committee may direct.
e) Whose quorum for a meeting shall be the majority of its members .
f) Whose decisions on all key issues shall be ratified by the full Board.
g) Whose other key role is to monitor and guide the performance of the Executive Secretary
without being involved in the day to day work of the Secretariat.
h) Whose other key function is to respond to situations in a timely and profitable manner
whenever the need arises, for the benefit of the film sector.

10) SUB-COMMITTEES OF THE BOARD

a) The Board has the full authority to appoint sub-committees, which may, subject to the
instructions of the Board, perform such functions of the Board as the Board may determine.

b) The Board shall ensure that all sub-committees shall consist of some appropriate members
of the Board , employees of the Board, if any, and any number of experts or advisors from the
general public, as the Board may deem necessary.

c) The Board shall normally designate one of its memb