When media practitioners fan hate speech

‘July 31: Who then has the last laugh’ reads Sunday Mail Assistant Editor, Munyaradzi Huni’s most recent offering in that paper. If you did not read it yourself, the article is nothing but a hate speech littered piece of writing full of cringe worthy labels and insulting epithets attached to different individuals, both real and imagined enemies of Zanu PF. Well, it’s hardly surprising, because many times Huni opens his mouth, or rather, puts pen to paper, his guts spill out. As an editor, we can be forgiven for expecting him to strive to uphold the ethics of objective criticism without resorting to insults. From the summary below, it’s hard to believe that at least two thirds of Huni’s article was dedicated to name-calling and denigration.

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Whatever you make of this, some of my colleagues feel that a lot of the descriptions above though hard-hitting, are very apt. I just think that dedicating all that real estate to insults is something that ought to boggle minds. Less than a month ago, Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ) Director Andy Moyse had a serious talk with journos about this and the slow effects of losing readers in the process. Huni is not alone. I have read some really shocking things from many newspaper columnists like him, and the things politicians have said about each other. The First Lady herself recently took to the podium at a Zanu PF rally in Chiweshe, and dedicated half of her rant to describing the Prime Minister’s ugliness.

 We can only but expect more of such vitriol this silly season, when professionalism goes straight out the window. But if we can leave hate speech to the politicians, as media practitioners we may be able to show a little respect to our loyal readers who expect some level of objectivity from the people they also expect to play the critical role of fourth estate. And there we are ironically clamoring for media reforms while in the meantime allowing the profession to go to the dogs. Some uncalled for insults only make some people sound like blithering idiots.

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3 thoughts on “When media practitioners fan hate speech

  1. I also read the Sunday Mail offering with an Ah! face mounted on shock, horror and disbelief. It it hardly surprising though Natasha, that this “silly season” there is much more in store for us. The pedestrian in me is disturbed by such a trend in the mainstream media, by seasoned professionals who ought to be deconstructing sh** for us and making it make sense for ordinary people like me. Is this not the same Huni who dedicated a whole broad sheet page to bringing down man of the cloth “the only sinner among us” Pius Ncube? Oh yes let’s not forget the collage of shamefully obtained pictures in that dreadful article. My little pedestrian knowledge tells me that there is just certain gutter journalism which should be confined to tabloids, or better still in mediocre blogs (and by the way Huni, blogs are free and independent of any dubious connections with tax payers’ money). Unoshaisa vatapi vanhau step yekumeso pavanhu iwe!

    Well juss my thots, nothing personal!

  2. Reblogged this on feyafeya and commented:
    This is the kind of un-feya feya journalism that Zimbabweans are fed up with. Thanks to Natasha Msonza for the #FeyaFeyaQuotableQuotes Blog – we wholeheartedly and unreservedly and categorically concur!

    Let’s make it feya feya!

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