Professional and responsible journalism is key for democracy to thrive in the country as it raises an informed and enriched society.
This came out of the Zimbabwe Online Content Creators National Media Forum where journalists and online publishers are being encouraged to practice high standards of ethics while disseminating information.
In her speech, the Zimbabwe Media Commission Chairperson Professor Ruby Magosvongwe said the media builds perceptions and influences how people view the world around, thus the digital media should be responsible.
“The promotion of a democratic culture demands responsible digital media. Being responsible not only means telling the truth and being factual, but also abiding by the law and being honest in the way a media practitioner gathers information – there is a need to be sensitive to the needs, rights of others, and the general good of society.
“The digital media should be responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people, build positive lives, create and sustain peace – and above all champion national interests and development aspirations of the people,” Professor Magosvongwe said.
Speaking in the same light, UNESCO Regional Adviser for Communication and Information AL-Amin Yusuph said the Media has the responsibility to provide accurate, balanced and impartial coverage of critical issues including on online platforms.
“Ethical reporting is not only a professional obligation, but also a democratic necessity. Ethical reporting means adhering to the principles of truthfulness, fairness, accuracy, balance, objectivity, independence and accountability. It also means avoiding sensationalism, bias, distortion, manipulation, propaganda and misinformation. Ethical reporting promotes public trust and confidence in the media.
“As content creators you should refrain from using or amplifying hate speech in your work and challenge it whenever it occurs. You should also promote tolerance, diversity and dialogue among different groups and communities,” he said.
The National Media Forum is part of a series of training workshops where content are trained to practice responsible journalism This year’s conference is being held in Kariba under the theme “countering hate speech online”.