COVID-19: Zim media giant sends journalists packing

STATE-owned media group Zimpapers has laid off scores of its employees after being hard-hit by the severe economic fallout wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, Zim Morning Post can report.

In a communique seen by this publication addressed to affected employees on Tuesday, contracts for sit-in correspondents and those on fixed monthly retainers were terminated forthwith.

The management cited the detrimental effects caused by the deadly pandemic on the company’s cash inflow.

The media giant incorporates radio stations Star FM ,Nyaminyami and Capitalk.

It also house newspaper titles that include The Herald, Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Sunday News, Manica Post, Kwayedza, H-Metro and online content creation channel ZTN.

Inside sources say the development has affected several workers across subsidiaries although Zim Morning Post could not ascertain the actual number of casualties.

“Well, I was advised about my contract termination today (Tuesday), and I hope things will change in the post covid-19. It came as a surprise, but I guess management had to take an inevitable business decision under this Covid-19 pandemic,” said an affected employee who refused to be named in fear of reprisal.

The job losses come barely two days after the global commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, where government stressed the need to cater for the welfare of members of the Fourth Estate.

The pandemic has affected all sectors of the economy globally with the International Labour Organisation raising alarm over looming job losses.

Zimpapers public relations and corporate communications manager Beatrice Tonhodzayi could not be reached for comment at the time of writing.

On Monday, Zimbabwe Union of Journalists secretary general Foster Dongozi said they were mooting on holding a symposium with all stakeholders, to discuss and propose ways of adaptation by journalists in the post Covid-19 period.

He shared the sentiments on the sidelines of the US$25 000 worth of Protective Personal Clothing donated by the Swedish Embassy to 25 media organisations .