Zimbabwe Media Urged to Champion Peace, Truth in Digital Age

by Oluwatosin Alabi

In a pivotal address on Monday, Professor Ruby Magosvongwe, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Chairperson, called upon journalists and online content creators to prioritize integrity, accuracy, and the promotion of national cohesion, especially in the wake of the disputed 2023 elections.

Speaking at the Zimbabwe Online Content Creators (ZOCC) national media forum in Kariba, Magosvongwe emphasized the unique power the media holds in shaping public perception and influencing national sentiment. She underscored the critical role of the media as a primary intelligence source, alerting law enforcement to potential conflicts and ensuring timely interventions.

“In today’s digital age, most people rely on digital platforms for their news. However, the same platforms can cause harm when misused for spreading misinformation, fake news, and hate speech,” Magosvongwe stated. “It’s imperative for the digital media to maintain credibility and uphold democratic values.”

She further elaborated on the media’s responsibility, “Being factual and honest isn’t the sole duty of a journalist. They should also be sensitive to societal needs, respect individual rights, and above all, serve the greater good. This includes building positive narratives, fostering peace, and advocating for national interests.”

Highlighting the transformative power of social media, Magosvongwe discussed its potential as a tool for conflict resolution, data collection, and peace promotion. She envisions a digital media landscape that supports national economic growth, social advancement, and, crucially, peaceful coexistence to nurture Zimbabwe’s young democracy.

Magosvongwe remarked on the recent 2023 elections, noting that the democratic process extends beyond the voting phase, continuing until the next electoral cycle. “Zimbabwe has taken initiatives to provide a favorable environment for media to function effectively in the democratic realm,” she said, referencing legal provisions in place to ensure impartial coverage of political entities.

Moreover, Magosvongwe emphasized the need for professional integrity in journalism, cautioning against the pitfalls of agenda-driven reporting and the spread of false narratives. Condemning hate speech in no uncertain terms, she declared it as “repugnant and intolerable.”

“To all media practitioners, upholding the fundamental tenets of the profession is paramount. Journalism is rooted in facts, and respecting the veracity of these facts is non-negotiable,” Magosvongwe urged forum attendees.

As digital media’s influence continues to grow, Magosvongwe’s call to action serves as a timely reminder of the media’s power and responsibility in shaping the future of Zimbabwe and fostering an environment of peace, truth, and national unity.

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