A network of local journalists has launched a new independent investigative journalism website, ZimFerrets, with the support of Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) Zimbabwe and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa (Osisa).
"We started operating this week even though we have been working since July this year; it's still work in progress," co-ordinator of the online investigative platform Farai Mutsaka said yesterday. "Our platform derives its name not from the domesticated polecat used chiefly for catching rabbits, but from the idea of an assiduous search for something; in this case facts and the truth.
"Our symbol is a honey badger, one of the most fearless animals in the world.
"We are working with Misa and Osisa. We will also rely on goodwill, donations and online advertising."
Mutsaka added: "The main reason we are there is to promote and advance investigative journalism in Zimbabwe, working with other regional and international networks to speak truth to power and hold the powerful to account. We will expose abuse of office and corruption in the public and private sectors, as well as society in general.
"Our aim is to bring journalists from different media organisations, platforms and countries in the region together in a powerful network; eliminating negative competition and rivalry while promoting collaboration to offer the public a good news service. Hence, we will work with all media houses in Zimbabwe and like-minded networks in the region and beyond."
On its website, ZimFerrets says: "Basically, our function is to ferret around and reveal the facts and truth on major issues of public interests. We will dig around to bring up the facts many people and entities would rather want to keep hidden to protect themselves against public scrutiny.
"Our main areas of interest are covering the local political economy, use and distribution of public resources, social services delivery and geopolitical economics, as well as exercise of power and corruption. In the process, we seek to expose practices by individuals, corporates and government, as well as civil society and other organisations which are harmful to people and society. As a public watchdog, the public interest and public good will be paramount in our operations.
"In other words, we will shine the light in dark corners, while reporting in a factual, accurate, balanced, fair and truthful, as well as non-selective way. This is critical in any society to ensure transparency, accountability and progress."