By ZBC Reporter
Local journalists have castigated the recent move by some sections of the media to politicise and sensationalise matters of life and death including the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Respected voices in the media fraternity have cautioned their colleagues whose reportage has gone off the rails as the country battles to contain the Covid-19 pandemic with government making frantic efforts to procure vaccines.
Veteran journalists and media organisations say the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic leaves no room for irresponsible sensationalism and political manoeuvring.
“I am taken aback by the sensationalisation and politicization of issues of national interest especially surrounding the management of the coronavirus pandemic. It is unethical to do so when people need to know and stand together to defeat such a pandemic, which is a matter of life and death,” said Mathew Takaona, Former President Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ).
“The role of the media is to educate especially during this pandemic period where factual information is a step closer to winning the fight against the pandemic. Instead of taking a sensational route, both public and private media should converge as torch bearers of correct information regarding the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Tabani Moyo Executive Director MISA.
The latest development comes after a local daily newspaper was exposed for trying to politicise the procurement and roll of Covid-19 vaccines.
Those who penned the article were left with an egg on the face after government announced that the first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine is expected in the country on Monday next week.
The Minister of information Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has already raised the red flag over the misinformation crusade by some sections of the media.
“Misleading headlines and reports from some newspapers seek to besmirch government efforts in the fight against Covid-19 and this is unacceptable.”
Ethics are a basic tenet of journalism and professionals are expected to know better especially at a crucial time when public health concerns such as containing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic require highest levels of responsibility.