Chenai Mutasa Post Correspondent
I WILL start by quoting the Holy Bible from Matthew 23 verse 27 which says: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ was not happy by the conduct of the scribes and Pharisees and described them as hypocrites who appear beautiful outside, while their hearts are full of deceit and uncleanliness.
In this article, I will not dwell on the conduct and behaviour of the Pharisees, but the scribes.
During the Biblical times, scribes were the journalists of the day.
They were writers of what transpired within the kingdom.
During the monarchical period, the scribes were in charge of writing and preserving legal documents.
These scribes were a professional group that was accorded considerable honour within the kingdom.
During the time of exile, sometimes called the Ezra period, there was a major shift in the definition of a scribe.
During that time, the law became the centre of all Jewish life and people studied it voraciously.
The scribes became keepers of the law and guardians of the truth. They did this first by gathering the sacred literature and by trying to make sense out of the events that would have transpired.
They began to interpret, copy, and edit the sacred documents.
Out of this endeavour came the canonical writings.
In short, scribes were writers and they informed people within the kingdom of what transpired in the society.
Scribes are still amongst us and are now called journalists. Just like the scribes during the Biblical times, journalists still have the duty of being guardians of the truth and informing people of what will be happening within our societies.
But some of our media personnel have become purveyors of falsehoods. They have become kings and queens in the art of fabricating stories that have no iota of truth in them.
Readers might recall that during the past few weeks, both local and foreign journalists were accused of writing fake news about Zimbabwe.
These journalists were also accused of manufacturing a non-existent crisis in the country. They were using the power of the pen to vilify the country and make it appear as if it was on the verge of collapse.
Some of these journalists suddenly started to speak and behave like opposition activists to the extent of calling for the unconstitutional overthrow of the constitutionally elected Government. Some of them started to mobilise citizens to violently revolt against the Government.
It was like these journalists were on a mission to denounce Zimbabwe so that it could be shunned by the international community.
It is a shame that our modern day scribes have become so partisan and are not able to see the good things that the Government is doing for the people. It seems some of our journalists have suddenly forgotten that the key objective of a journalist is to gather information, write news pieces, and present the news in an honest, truthful, unbiased, apolitical and balanced manner.
Sadly some of the journalists are spending time writing stories that portray the country as a jungle with no laws. Some of them are hosting opposition activists on their shows and affording these people a chance to demonise and speak evil against the Government of Zimbabwe.
Both local and foreign journalists are guilty of this crime.
The journalists fabricating a non-existent crisis in Zimbabwe have been hiding behind media freedom. But writing or speaking the truth does not entail one to write about fake abductions or about non-existent violations of human rights. This also does not mean writing stories that divide people and promote hate speech, intolerance and discrimination among the people of Zimbabwe.
Journalism does not mean dividing the people of Zimbabwe through creating ethnic rivalry.
Yet you find some journalists on the forefront urging people to be violent so that the country becomes ‘ungovernable’.
Rwanded Ferdinand Nahimana and Hassan Ngeze were some of the Rwandese journalists who were sentenced to life in jail for their roles in fueling the 1994 genocide in which 800 000 Tutsis and Hutus were massacred. The sentencing of these media personnel ended what had been coined the ‘hate media’ during the tragic period in the African country’s history.
The international criminal tribunal for Rwanda heard how the media played a major role in inciting extremists from the Hutu majority to carry out the 100-day slaughter of ethnic Tutsis.
Surely, our journalists can be better than Nahimana and Ngeze. They should be remembered as people who defended their country from its foes through the power of the pen.
They should be remembered as people who united people and preached the gospel of tolerance and oneness.
They should also be remembered as people who told the World that Zimbabwe is a sovereign State that does not need external interference in its internal affairs.