By Dr Masimba Mavaza
MEDIA freedom has been abused around the world over the past decade. In some of the most influential democracies in the world, populist journalists have overseen concerted attempts to effect undemocratic regime change under the guise of the independence of the media sector.
While the threats to global media freedom are real and concerning in their own right, their impact on the state of democracy is what makes them truly dangerous. Journalists have become a danger to democracy yet they scream loud when the law toggles out of the pen to assert sanity and democracy in the world today.
Experience has shown, however, that press freedom can rebound from even lengthy stints of repression when given the opportunity. The basic desire for democratic liberties, including access to honest and fact-based journalism, can never be extinguished. Journalists are supposed to stand for the truth and not only assert their perverted minds.
The fundamental right to seek and disseminate information through an independent press is always mistaken and confused with an attack, on truth and democracy, and part of the assault on truth and democracy has come from an unexpected source. It has come from journalists themselves.
Zimbabwe has Elected leaders who are press freedom’s staunchest defenders, but they have been made to look like vampires and blood-sucking dictators. Despite such attacks on them they have made no explicit attempts to silence critical media voices and strengthen outlets that serve up favorable coverage.
The behaviour of such wayward journalist is linked to a global decline in democracy itself and a heavy handed underhand support of regime change. This has created puppets pen mercenaries using Twitter and social media to demonise and vilify the democracies in their own countries. The erosion of press dignity is both a symptom of and a contributor to the breakdown of other democratic institutions and principles, a fact that makes it especially alarming. Governments are removed simply because a journalist has been paid to lie about his own country. Many countries have been labelled as autocratic all because of how the journalists portray them.
What we observe now is an international conspiracy of pen terrorism. Where a stroke of a pen changes the whole direction of History.
Zimbabwean opposition characters are very interesting. They will defend Hopewell saying he is doing investigative journalism, when his propaganda journalism antics sponsored by the CIA leaves a lot to be desired. One wonders why Chingono as an educated investigative how the evil misinterpreted illegal American sanctions have destroyed an ordinary Zimbabwean citizen. It makes no sense to fight corruption in Zanu pf and glorify the corruption activity done by Hopewell and his American handlers of financing him to try and justify American evilness on ordinary Zimbabwean.
According to Freedom House’s Freedom in the World data, “media freedom has been deteriorating around the world over the past decade, with new forms of repression taking hold in open societies and authoritarian states alike.” The trend is most acute in Europe, previously a bastion of well-established freedoms, and in Eurasia and the Middle East, where many of the world’s worst dictatorships are concentrated. If democratic powers cease to support media independence at home and impose no consequences for its restriction abroad, the free press corps could be in danger of virtual extinction.
Experience has shown, however, that press freedom can rebound from even lengthy stints of repression when given the opportunity. The basic desire for democratic liberties, including access to honest and fact-based journalism, can never be extinguished, and it is never too late to renew the demand that these rights be granted in full.
It is common to hear some misguided apologist trying to justify such rampant mismanagement of journalistic skills by Hopewell Chin’ono when clearly he is sponsored to shake the nation into a disturbed sea.
It’s undeniable and indisputable fact that effects of sanctions have destroyed an ordinary Zimbabwean. Hopewell is a danger to Zimbabwean society because he will make a lot of people trivialize sanctions because himself is earning a living on condemning corruption within our government which will make it as if Zimbabwe is where it is because of corruption alone. People must never listen to Hopewell propaganda that Zimbabwe is down because of corruption but he is living on dirty corruption money he gets from American embassy. Investigative journalist who can’t condemn sanctions destroying poor citizens because his handlers imposed them on Zimbabwe.
If anyone dispute this why all distress calls of Hopewell tag American embassy not any African country or embassy in Zimbabwe? Hopewell is fighting for no one except for his stomach. If he is a hero fighting for the people let him do investigations and condemn Americans for punishing innocent Zimbabweans.
I have no fear to say that corruption in Zimbabwe and sanctions defended by Hopewell and MDC have destroyed Zimbabwe. Our nation is surging with a cancer in the heart of the nation. The cancer we have in Zimbabwe is called Hopewell Chin’ono.
As Zimbabweans we must be remembered for fighting for justice and as true revolutionaries in the history of Zimbabwe.
We will never benefit from NGOs to livelihood level. NGOs will benefit people like Chin’ono who have sold their humanity for a penny. Chin’ono has reduced Journalism to the lowest level in our lifetime. We need nationalists not imperialists.
Let’s stop banking on the wrong people. Or from always restarting the machinery of nationalism. Instead lets revitalize what others started. Not Everybody is corrupt, so corruption can be controlled.
There are things journalists should write against. Chin’ono must use his investigative journalism to track down vandals who remove copper from Telone lines, steal ZESA cables, break into houses, drive too heavy a vehicle in our crescents which weren’t made for that tonnage because they want their friends to see that they move about with a 32 wheeler. All this antiestablishment activities must be written about. But No if journalism is to benefit the public Hopewell will not be paid. He will deliberately publish exaggerated false and fake news to bring about commotion in the peaceful country.
No matter who rules, Zimbabweans must change their mentality towards their beloved country. The self destruction mode engaged by Chin’ono is indeed giving Zimbabwe a bad name, any negative publicity in Zimbabwe has the face of Chin’ono. This has a very big negative contribution which we must address.
In some of the most influential democracies in the world, large segments of the population are no longer receiving unbiased news and information. Journalists in these areas are taught to be truthful and honest. This is not because journalists are being thrown in jail, as might occur in other settings. Instead, the media in Zimbabwe has fallen prey to more nuanced efforts to throttle the independence and sovereignty of Zimbabwe government.
Despite the behaviour of Chin’ono and other thump brigades Government has also offered proactive support to many outlets without bias through measures such as favourable regulatory decisions, and preferential access to state information. The goal is to make the press serve those being fed with toxic and fake news.
The country needs leaders who present themselves as the defenders of an aggrieved majority against the likes of Chin’ono we must make sure that the interests of the nation should not override democratic principles like press freedom, transparency, and open debate.
It has become painfully apparent that a free press can never be taken for granted, even when democratic rule has been in place for decades. Cultivation of anti-government media is spreading like bush fire.
While populist journalists in democracies seek to secure and build on their gains by destroying the press, in view of this governments continue to tighten the screws on paid voices, as any breach in their media dominance threatens to expose the nation to strife.
While the threats to the government by the media are real and concerning in their own right, their impact on the state of democracy is what makes them truly dangerous. A free and independent media sector that can keep the population informed and hold leaders to account without lying and being used by the enemies of the state, is as crucial for a strong and sustainable democracy as free and fair elections.
Without it, citizens cannot make informed decisions about how they are ruled, and abuse of power, which is all but inevitable in any society, cannot be exposed and corrected if all along there is a political biased activist masquerading as a journalist.
A review of some of the Twitts that have faced potential turning points in the last year illustrates how the media’s ability to support democracy depends on their freedom to operate independently and truthfully.
Zimbabwe’s population was accustomed to domestic news outlets that failed to provide unbiased and substantive information.
We must acknowledging that a perception of increased press freedom would help consolidate their control.
Journalists’ ability to document staged activities as well as the presumed brutality has helped to galvanize international support to fight the legitimately elected government.
Journalists should enter communities and report on local stories. This fosters public trust and makes residents more receptive to other impartial news. Despite these valiant efforts, however, the production of reliable, objective news that is accessible to Zimbabweans remains a daunting challenge. With people like Hopeless Chin’ono fake news has been spread around and it indeed spreads like hellfire.
Zimbabwe has made far more progress in its democratic transition in the past three years.
The information flow will help the development. Truthfulness also helped stem disinformation spread by Chin’ono.
There is an obvious tension between journalists who are attempting to perform their proper democratic function and antidemocratic scribes that are determined to disturb the nation.
The innovative and courageous work of independent reporters offers hope that even in the most desperate circumstances, those who are committed to distributing information in the public interest can find a way. But these journalists alone cannot address the needs of millions of people who still have access to little more than the narrative put out there by Chin’ono and must rely on their own instincts and observations to assess the claims of corrupt and abusive leaders put across by Hopewell Chin’ono.
The actions of Hopewell Chin’ono do excuse or inspire violations of press freedom. Democratic nations have a particularly important role to play in maintaining media freedom. Words matter, and when A journalist verbally or in any form attack the nation or fail to swiftly and vigorously condemn such acts acts it sends a signal to undemocratic leaders around the world that assaults on the democracy and crimes against the nation are permissible.
Zimbabwe must Take strong and immediate action against any violations of media freedom globally through press statements, phone calls, meetings, letters, and the imposition of targeted sanctions on perpetrators like Hopewell Chin’ono This includes speaking out against violence on the state and journalists and authorities’ failure to identify and prosecute attackers, restrictions on media access, blocking of websites, and censorship on particular topics.
Together as Zimbabweans, we can put the true picture of Zimbabwe out there. We must never sit and rely on Hopewell Chin’ono.🔺