By Barnabas Masimba – Netherlands ambassador to Zimbabwe, Barbara Joziasse recently challenged Zimbabwean journalists to stop politicking and rebuild a peaceful country.
Speaking during a press conference in Bulawayo Joziasse said journalists should exercise extreme caution as the pen is mightier than a sword and can destroy the nation if left unchecked.
“You play a very important role in the political and economic transition and you can make the life of everyone better or worse. We are not going to use our newspapers anymore for political expediency,” said Joziasse.
The Dutch ambassador stressed that journalists should not exploit the present situation of the country for political purposes and self-enrichment.
She said objectivity and being apolitical will help the country move forward because the media from all sides actually has a responsibility not to take things at face value.
This call was made after the ambassador witnessed polarization in the Zimbabwean media fraternity where reporters are alleged to have aligned themselves to political parties, sympathizing with those parties and in the process ignore trivial issues that need to be addressed.
“Before putting a remark on the newspaper one should ask self that is it going to create another political conflict? or is it going to make a difference for myself my children and their children?
“Every citizen here in Zimbabwe has got to start taking a responsibility because that is one of my rules is – stop politicking, rebuild your country as soon as possible,” she added.
The ambassador also cited the Rwandan genocide as an example of the disaster that can occur when journalists become subjective and cease to follow the principles of the fourth estate which is to inform, educate and entertain the audience.