happison muchechetere 3 06-10-10.jpgThe Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Chief Executive Officer, Mr Happison Muchechetere has warned some journalists at the corporation who are accepting bribes from certain politicians in return for favorable coverage and appealed to politicians to stop corrupting journalists.

 

At a news conference at ZBC headquarters in Harare on Wednesday afternoon, Mr Muchechetere said the organisation has uncovered a sad development where some politicians in the inclusive government are enticing some journalists to provide them with exclusive coverage of their events, without the knowledge of the journalists’ superiors at the corporation.

He criticised the politicians for baiting journalists with money, cars and other valuable assets.

Mr Muchechetere also cited instances where politicians request specific reporters or producers to cover their stories and bypass editors who are responsible for assigning reporters to specific stories.

“Anyone one with a story that he/she wants covered should follow proper channels. They should approach the Assignments Editor  or the General Manager News and Current Affairs, Mr Tarzen Mandidzidza, who will then decide who among the journalists should cover the story,” said Mr Muchechetere.

He also appealed to politicians who are in the habit of paying the journalists to smuggle material outside ZBC studios to stop the habit.

The ZBC boss also cited some instances of bribery and corruption involving the rewarding of some workers for spreading falsehoods to online publications, the outside world and the independent media, thereby besmirching and tarnishing the image of the national broadcaster.

Mr Muchechetere said it is disturbing and of major concern that the same politicians who purport to be fighting corruption by day, nicodemously promote the vice, thus compromising the chain of newsgathering and airing.

He warned ZBC journalists that they should not abuse their role as society’s watchdog, adding that anyone caught and proved to be involved in the bribery activities will not only be dismissed, but will be subjected to drastic measures.

He also appealed to the politicians who are bribing the journalists to stop the practice forthwith or risk being named and shamed.

“Bribing journalists is not proper, that should be stopped because if you [politicians] continue with that habit, the journalists are the ones who will suffer the consequences, because  anyone [ZBC employee] caught will be fired and other drastic measures will be taken against him/her,” said Mr Muchechetere.

He explained that ZBC employees’ salaries are favourable, compared to other media houses, saying that there should be no reason for them to be corrupt except that they are driven by greed.