INFORMATION minister Professor Jonathan Moyo has accused politicians of using young journalists to push their political agenda by establishing newspapers only to fail to pay them their salaries.
Addressing editors from various media houses at the Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) annual general meeting in Harare, Moyo said it was high time that journalists stopped being used by politicians or individuals who want to secure their political power.
Without mentioning any names, Moyo said politicians who established newspapers and then turn their backs on the journalists after establishing what they thought was political power were “primitive”.
“Let newspapers be owned by business people who are ethical; I get surprised by politicians who own newspapers and tell editors and reporters what to write propping up their political life”.
“At the end you fail to pay these reporters and tell them to go and look for adverts so that they get paid. Who on earth doesn’t know that our economic environment is so bad and no companies are advertising at the moment?”
Moyo added that he is not against any politician going into the newspaper business but said anyone doing so had to ensure that it was purely a business venture run professionally.
“If these newspapers continue to operate like this they are going to collapse in not a too far distance”.
Moyo’s remarks come days after reports that the one year old The Zimbabwe Mail owned by transport Minister Obert Mpofu had fallen on hard times owing journalists three months’ salaries.
The newspaper has since been kicked out of their rented offices in central Harare after management failed to pay rent which is said to be several months in arrears.
The paper was operating from NICOZ building corner Samora Machel Avenue and Park Street.
Reporters told Newzimbabwe.com on Wednesday that they have been told to work with their advertising department and look for adverts to raise money for their salaries.
The Zimbabwe Mail was launched in December 2013.