Journalists practicing as freelancers have called for the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) and other media organizations to create a conducive working environment for them. At a meeting held at the Media Center and facilitated by Information Medial Panel of Inquiry (IMPI) panelists, Forster Dongozi and Rangu Nyamurundira, freelance journalists cited their poor working conditions.They also advised IMPI that because of the high unemployment levels in the media industry and profession, most journalists have had no choice but to become freelancers. Hence the need for ZMC to take freelance journalists with equal seriousness as with fully employed journalists.
However they have been cases of segregation among the journalists in the newsroom and self-employed journalists.“Access to information is very difficult for us freelancers and we call for Unions to come and see to it that our rights as journalists are upheld”, said a freelance journalist who was responding to the question about what can be done to increase the security of freelancers in the industry.
ZUJ and the Media Centre are the current organizations assisting and facilitating the operations of local freelance journalists in Zimbabwe. Concerns over sexual harassment of female journalists who would want their stories to be published by editors were also raised. “Some of the editors would demand sexual intimacy for them to publish your story and refusal results in your story being spiked in spite of the story being news worth” said another female freelance journalists, ” said a female freelancer.
IMPI has been travelling the country, collecting information on media issues by holding public hearings.