GOVERNMENT has warned journalists to desist from “snooping” into the security sector, describing it as a highly sensitive area.
The government also said it was dangerous for the Press to write about the goings-on in the security sector, as this compromised Zimbabwe’s national interests.
Media, Information and Broadcasting Services minister Christopher Mushohwe made the call yesterday during a familiarisation tour of Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) premises in Harare.
AMH are publishers of NewsDay, The Standard, Southern Eye and Zimbabwe Independent newspapers.
However, Mushohwe said he would not prescribe how the media industry should cover events except that they should put Zimbabwe’s interests first.
The minister said he wanted to understand the media industry by interfacing with industry players.
“We are visiting media players for us to understand how they operate and hear their concerns because if it wasn’t for you (the media players), I wouldn’t be Information minister. So I am looking at expanding the industry,” Mushohwe said.
“I am there to act as bridge between the government and the media industry. Yes, this is the time to find each other. Thanks for the warm reception. After understanding your operations, going forward, that will help us appreciate challenges facing media players and, of course, journalists, our foremost important players.”
The minister said there was no distinction between private or independent media players and State-owned/operated media.
Instead, Mushohwe said what was important was that they were all public media serving Zimbabweans, hence they should all focus on bringing the national interests at the core of their journalism.
“We are one family, and we are glad to be working together. However, where there are sticking points, we hope to iron them out going forward, as we shall be having a media indaba soon to discuss the Information and Media Panel of Inquiry (Impi) report,” he said.
On the security sector, Mushohwe said: “I am not threatening you, but giving you advice because you are people who are at my heart. I am saying don’t play with the security sector, you have no understanding there. Don’t manufacture your toys in the security sector. It’s slippery ground.”
The minister later visited the Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe and the Financial Gazette as he sought to gather the challenges facing various media houses. He was accompanied by his deputy Thokozile Mathuthu and senior staffers from his ministry.