Be wary of fake news ahead of 2018 Elections- Journalists warned

“Forget Zimbabwean politicians not being techno savvy, a  lot of politicians are going to open twitter and facebook accounts as 2018 elections approach, politicians known to have challenges with technology will be tweeting and posting on Facebook daily,” Voluntary media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) Executive Director, Loughty Dube, warned journalists.

Dube urged journalists to put professionalism as their first line of defense, adding that powerful individuals are going to use media unprofessional behavior as an excuse to perpetuate laws that inhibit press freedom in Zimbabwe.

By Tafadzwa Tseisi

 Speaking at the just ended World Press Freedom Day Commemorations held at Harare Polytechnic, organized by the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF) in collaboration with UNESCO and Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Dube said Zimbabwe’s media landscape is going through a critical time and requires critical minds.

“The media sector is experiencing numerous challenges from corruption, poor working conditions in the newsrooms, to safety and security issues on the field.  All this has affected news reportage across the media divide.

“Working in such a volatile environment has seen mainstream media giving little or no attention at all to verifying articles before publishing. Let this be a warning that a lot of politicians are going to open twitter and facebook accounts and sell you dummies through supplying false information similar to what happened with the famous Tadyanemhandu story – and the politicians will use those stories as an excuse to clamp down on the media. It is such critical times that call for critical minds“Dube said.

He expressed concern over media’s failure to follow basic tenets of journalism.

“It is shocking to note how one of the biggest media institutions in Zimbabwe, broadcast a hoax alleging popular musician, Cde Chinx has died.

“Such a trend is not only rampant in Zimbabwe, but around the world. Early this year nine Tanzanian journalists were fired from their job after running a fake news article claiming US President Donald Trump called President Magufuli, congratulating him on excellent leadership. That call never happened and this leaves one wondering- where are the filters newsrooms should have? Our tools for checks and balances should be in place” Dube said.


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