The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) says it will name and shame journalists caught involved in acts of corruption, in the latest reaction by a local media-based group to a bribery scandal linked to a tobacco farming contractor.
This follows two articles punished in the latest edition of The Standard in which a journalist, writing under the pen name Nyaradzo Nyere, claims she was importuned by her three media colleagues to abandon an investigative story involving the company in exchange for a US$2000 reward.
Nyere sought to expose how Voedsel Tobacco International was short-changing tobacco farmers contracted to produce the crop for a song.
The investigative piece was under the auspices of Information for Development Trust (IDT), a local non-profit making organisation facilitating the production of stories focussing on public sector corruption.
She would go on to reveal her nightmares in the hands of her colleagues who pestered her to dump the story for cash.
IDT coordinator Tawanda Majoni, also a columnist in The Standard, also poured out on how ‘brown envelop journalism’ has contributed to the decay in the profession.
Reacting to the scandal, ZUJ pledged its cooperation towards efforts aimed at weeding out rampant corruption among some local journalists.
“There is absolutely no excuse for unethical journalistic practice. As such, ZUJ will continue to pursue a collective, multi-sectoral approach to try and address this problem,” said the group in a Thursday statement.
“ZUJ is open to receiving complaints and evidence against corrupt journalistic practice so that it can take remedial action, which includes naming and shaming those involved.
“However, to date the Union is yet to receive official complaints and evidence from members of the public and the journalists on the prevalence of the ‘brown envelop syndrome’.”
ZUJ was quick to say that the Zimbabwean journalism profession has in its midst, professional scribes and media leaders who still have integrity and conduct themselves ethically.
“It is a fact that Zimbabwe has world-respected media personnel some who are lecturing at global universities and working for global media houses. Its newsrooms also still retain respectable men and women journalists,” said the group.
ZUJ’s statement follows similar condemnation of the scandal issued by the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF) and the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (ZINEF).