the mail newspaper.jpgThe Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) has called for tough vetting measures to be employed on new players who wish to enter the country’s media industry after recent revelations that a local daily newspaper, The Mail, is facing viability problems.

The Mail newspaper reportedly sent more than 50 employees on an unpaid leave, and  ZUJ Secretary General, Mr Forster Dongozi said his organisation is disappointed by the developments at the publication.

While Dongozi refused to say a lot on the matter saying it is before the courts, he called for tight vetting of any new players coming into the media saying they should be assessed to determine if they can withstand the industry’s challenges.

An internal memo written to The Mail employees on August 17, 2011 states that the more than 50 workers have been sent on unpaid leave after management decided to temporarily suspend the printing of the newspaper until the arrival of the company’s printing press.

The Mail workers told ZBC News that they are worried because of the suspension on the publication’s online version, which they say does not need a printing press to function amid fears that the management used them as a scapegoat.

In a telephone interview, the publication’s Managing Director, Mr Hensley Chamboko acknowledged the matter although he said he could not comment as the issue is before the courts.

Observers say the development is a sad chapter in the history of Zimbabwe’s media amid moves by government to license more players.