Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa has urged media practitioners to partner government in countering fake news to ensure citizens get accurate and truthful information about the COVID-19 pandemic.
Speaking during the belated World Freedom Day commemorations in Harare today, Mutsvangwa urged journalists to be conscious of the role, rights and responsibilities of the sector so that they can be partners for development.
"We have seen that some media activities could be harmful, driven by toxicity, hate, malice and divisiveness. This is not the essence of freedom of the media and the opening up of the sector to plurality. Media practices should be guided by professional ethics and core tenets such as truthfulness, accuracy and fairness. We demand a media that is cognizant of the national interest, values and ethos so that we can build a sustainable future for our nation,"
Mutsvangwa commended the media for handling the COVID-19 information dissemination role saying many turned to trusted sources of information and news.
"First, during the pandemic, we all understood how important information about this unprecedented disaster was. At first, we all knew very little about the disease and citizens of the world held on to every little bit of information that they could read or listen to so as to make sense of the absolute disaster of the pandemic.
"Unfortunately, in this desperation our people became victims of misinformation and disinformation or what is generally referred to as Fake News. Fake News became a pandemic within a pandemic. The role of established media in disseminating correct information to citizens became evident. We all turned to trusted news sources for the correct and up to date information and news," she added.
Mutsvangwa said this year's World Press Freedom day commemorations theme, 'Information as a Public Good' serves as a call to affirm the importance of cherishing information as a public good, and exploring what can be done in the production, distribution and reception of content to strengthen journalism, and to advance transparency and empowerment while leaving no one behind.