Journalists urged to come up with solution-based journalism

By Yolanda Moyo

As the nation joins the rest of the world in commemorating World Press Freedom Day, journalists have been urged to harness solution-based journalism as the country pursues the development agenda.

The main event was held in Bulawayo at the National University of Science and Technology.

Deputy Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Hon Kindness Paradza who delivered a lecture at the World Press Freedom day main event in Bulawayo this Tuesday, implored media practitioners to come up with solution-based journalism to help build the nation.

As the President always speaks of  the country being built by its owners, journalists should come up with solution-based journalism that will help build and develop the country. We cannot continue to have confrontational journalism that will not take us anywhere as a nation. Journalists should come up with solutions on how we can overcome the challenges and problems in the country,” he said.

The celebrations also cast the spotlight on the digital era which has affected the journalism profession, with calls being made to ensure media practitioners are free from harassment and online surveillance.

“The digital era has put media works and their sources at greater risk of being targeted, harassed and attacked. Technological advances need to be underpinned by respect for the freedom, privacy and safety of journalists. Social media networks must do more to tackle rampant disinformation and hate speech while protecting freedom of expression. As UNESCO we have been promoting new transparency principles for online platforms, undertaking research into sustainable media business models,” said UNESCO representative Mr Alamin Yusuf.

Dr Bhekinkosi Ncube from NUST explained this year’s theme; ‘Journalism under surveillance’ and how it speaks to modern day media practice.

“What do we mean by saying journalism under surveillance?  We mean that journalists are no longer safe in conducting their work. They are prone to attacks and they can longer protect their sources. Surveillance and hacking are compromising journalists. Surveillance can expose information gathered by journalists, including from whistle-blowers, and violates the principle of source protection, which is universally considered a prerequisite for freedom of the media. What needs to be done is that governments and people with financial muscles should respect the work of journalists,” he said.

A senior Lecturer at the Midlands State University Department of Media and Society Studies, Professor Nhamo Mhiripiri, commended  Government for implementing the three tier broadcasting system as it facilitates freedom of expression, diversity and the free flow of information and ideas

“We have a three tier broadcasting system in the country, yes it helps in accessing information by citizens but there remains a need for the system to grow into a five tier system and this can help develop the media sector by having a Zimbabwean opinion being put out in the world on certain issues,” he noted.

The Second Republic under the astute leadership of President Emmerson Mnangagwa has made great strides in opening up the media sector through licencing a number of new players including community radio stations.

World Press Freedom Day celebrates the fundamental principles of press freedom, evaluating press freedom globally,  and defending the media from attacks on their independence.