BY EDITH MUGABE
KARIBA-Journalists and online content creators have been urged to be professional, ethical and fact check their stories before sharing with the audience.
Presenters at the just ended post election national media forum organised by ZOCC, Zimbabwe Media Commission and UNESCO reiterated the need for media practitioners to fact check their stories before publication in order to maintain credibility.
The forum was held at Caribbea Bay Hotel in Kariba and was attended by among others, ZMC chairperson, Prof Ruby Magosvongwe, Midlands State University media lecturer, Prof Nhamo Mhiripiri, veteran journalist, media trainer, Cris Chinaka and ZMC principal director, Bvumai Chinamhora.
Prof Magosvongwe highlighted that journalists should abide by the laws of the country and those that guide their profession as well as reporting for the general good of the society.
She added that the digital media has to be accountable, ethical, credible and professional in their reporting.
“Digital media should be credible, professional, ethical and abide by the laws of the country and the laws that govern their profession and report for the general good of the society. The media’s role is to filter hate or negative speech and push for positivity in society,” said Prof Magosvongwe.
ZOCC chairperson, Toneo Rutsito highlighted that journalists and online content creators should abide by the professional ethics and continue holding on to the good standards of reporting as it promotes trust between the community and journalists.
“As online content creators, it is our responsibility to maintain credibility, ethical standards, and professionalism in our content creation. While we strive to deliver breaking news timely, we should prioritize the principles of factual content and employ various fact-checking mechanisms at our disposal.
“Zimbabweans rely on us as their gatekeepers of information, expecting us to provide accurate content. Therefore, it is our duty to verify information to prevent disseminating unverified, false, or sensationalized content.” said Rutsito.
He also said that major media houses have achieved their success not solely by rushing to publish first, but by consistently verifying their content and earning the trust of their audience.
Quality should never be compromised, as spreading misinformation may generate temporary traffic but ultimately leads to a loss of credibility.
Rutsito said that reputable brands prefer not to associate themselves with clickbait or unethical content creation. Engaging in such practices would hinder the progress of online content creators in the long run.
“I urge all content creators to remain committed to factual and professional practices on our journey towards media greatness. Each publication should be a step forward in achieving this goal,” said Rutsito.