In an interview with The Standard’s senior reporter Veneranda Langa (VL), President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba (GC) blamed the poor state of journalism at the State broadcaster on the lack of qualified personnel.
Charamba said the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) does not have enough graduate reporters to fill his single palm. Below is an excerpt of Charamba’s interview with Langa:
VL: Your successor has publicly complained about the poor state of journalism in state controlled media outlets and specifically singled out ZBC. Do you take any responsibility for the rot as someone who superintend over the ministry for so many years?
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…If you look at some of the ZBC staff members, I do not think graduate reporters are able to fill my single palm.
The other day I had a conflict with the ZBC chief executive officer. They were trying to recruit more staff ahead of the 2018 elections and the qualification was a diploma in journalism, and I hit the roof and said in a country where graduates are in fact selling airtime, what good reasons do you have to stoop so low?
So, my message is that the Ministry of Information does not employ ZBC staff and ZBC must have entry qualifications and insist on those and, therefore, ensure there is a cadreship that is literate.
I do not see that appetite maybe because people are threatened by educated cadres.
In fact, I happen to know that the few degreed journalists that have tried to go to ZBC have come to grief because they were being harassed, and it is not even unique to ZBC alone, it happens in a number of newsrooms.
The only organisation where we have seen rapid strides in ensuring that skills are upgraded – in fact is Zimpapers because the Zimpapers newsroom has transformed and it is showing by way of the degree of analysis – not shallow political analysis.
I am talking of thoughtful analysis, which gets a CEO of a major company to sit back and think. This country suffers from a poverty of ideas. So, I agree with my successor that it is an issue which needs attention.