- Published on 02 July 2014
- Written by New Zim
ZIMBABWEAN journalists regularly report President Robert Mugabe’s all too frequent rants against homosexuality, but little is said of the 50 or so members of the local press pack who are gay and silently suffering victimisation in the country’s newsrooms.
Harare-based tabloid H-Metro recently published alleged WhatsApp messages in which a male ZBC producer propositioned a man he met on a commuter omnibus as they travelled to Chitungwizwa.
The ZBC staffer has since been suspended by management at the public broadcaster pending a hearing.
He is not alone, however.
A meeting organised by Federation of Africa Media Women Zimbabwe (FAMWZ) in Harare last Friday heard that as many as 50 local journalists had confessed to the organisation about being gay.
FAMWZ national coordinator, Abigail Gamanya, said some of the reporters approached the organisation and openly shared their experiences within newsrooms.
"I was surprised when quite a number of both male and female journalists came to our office saying they are gay or lesbians and they were being victimised in newsrooms," she said.
"But l must confess that we do not know how to incorporate this into our programmes considering how the issue has been handled by our political leaders in the country and, honestly, I would like members to have a say on the way forward."
The meeting was attended by representatives of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ), Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) and several media practitioners.
MISA Director Nhlanhla Ngwenya said the gays and lesbian issue had to be approached with open minds as political and religious leaders had taken a negative position against the minority group.
Contributing to the discussion, AB Communications chief executive, Susan Makore, said the media should deal with harassment in the newsroom without singling out one particular group.
"Let’s move towards what constitute harassment in newsrooms, whether sexual, equal opportunities, sexual orientation and factions, and we should bear in mind the Zimbabwean society’s position on the issue of gays and lesbians."