INFORMATION, Media and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Supa Mandiwanzira has called on the media to shift its coverage to labour matters saying such stories had a bigger audience than politics.
Addressing journalists at an International Labour Organisation (ILO)-organised capacity enhancement workshop for journalists in Nyanga on Tuesday, Mandiwanzira said his ministry was engaging media organisations to appreciate their operations.
“Labour issues have a bigger market than political issues,” he said.
“Over the past 10 years, some newspapers have been selling on politics, but labour involves everyone.
“I’m sure the workshop has capacitated you on critical issues you need to focus on in labour matters.
“This workshop is important in that it will refocus our attention to critical issues on labour.’’
Mandiwanzira said his ministry wanted to avoid imposing ideas on how media organisations should treat their employees.
“The issue of labour is important even to journalists themselves,” he said.
“ZBC (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation) has issues of labour which we have to deal with. There has to be a certain context in dealing with those issues.”
He called for co-operation between the ILO and his ministry on issues related to media houses and other organisations overseen by his ministry.
“There has been debate that the present labour laws are very negative towards business,” the deputy minister said.
“It is very easy to hire someone, but if they fail to deliver what they promised it is hard to get rid of them.
“These are the issues that the media should unpack. You need to speak to those who support the idea and those against it.
“In South Africa, it has been said that it would be hard to attract investors because the trade unions have become so powerful that they can close industries, but they will argue that employers are exploiting workers.”
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions general-secretary Japhet Moyo urged journalists to work towards setting up a national employment council as that would help them in salary negotiations.
He also warned journalists against writing stories that poked fun at the plight of their colleagues who belonged to different media organisations.