The Aljazeera journalists and Ambassador Angel had one thing in common, which was their flare to lie
The Aljazeera documentary aimed its ugly unprofessional guns at the First Lady and the first family.
The last episode, episode 4, advertised as the greatest expose of the century, where the viewers were told that the First Lady of Zimbabwe is embroiled in a Gold Mafia Scandal, proved to be a non-event, a loud-sounding nothing.
AlJazeera embarked on a two-year documentary, and in those two years, they produced a drama they called a documentary.
In their drama, Aljazeera failed to show the best practice of a journalist. A journalist dwells in fairness. Fairness in journalism means exploring all sides of an issue and reporting the findings accurately.
Members of the public should never be used to exaggerate the importance of a story. As a journalist, you are responsible for examining your own motives and ensuring that your personal feelings and emotions do not influence what you report, whom you talk to, or determine which elements of the story you highlight.
You also need to think carefully about the language and tone you use to ensure that it doesn’t give an inaccurate and unfair representation of the facts. Your job is to inform the public debate, not manipulate that debate. A journalist works on behalf of the public, not using them for his own end. A journalist should have no motivation other than presenting sourced and verified facts. It is the fundamental principle that the fact must be verified. It is not good practice for a journalist to have the desired outcome. Having a desired effect becomes activism. It is essential to know that journalism and activism are not compatible. You do your job regardless of the outcome.
The First Lady of Zimbabwe does not source business for Zimbabwe. Other than accompanying His Excellency, she does her charitable work where she represents Zimbabweans of all walks. She is not the face of ZANU PF. She is the face of Zimbabwe. The opponents of the PresidentPresident are opportunistic and cowardly when they attack his wife just to get a result. The Aljazeera journalists and Ambassador Angel had one thing in common, which was their flare to lie. Both Angel and Aljazeerah have shown their propensity to lie.
Despite the sensationalisation of this Gold Mafia comedy, the government has nothing to respond to this documentary, and their allegations fly in their face and will never stand the heat of a proper cross-examination.
In all the acting exhibited by Aljazeera, it is laughable that the opposition wants the First Lady to respond to the frivolous and vexatious allegations levelled against her by Aljazeera in their woeful documentary.
The First Lady can not respond to speculation neither can the President. This so-called documentary produced no evidence, and it is unconstitutional to convict the first family in the court of media. Our constitution rests on the presumption of innocence. The PresidentPresident and the First Lady have nothing to say in this fishing expedition by Aljazeera. These are allegations of corruption which have no merit. Aljazeera did not go to Mai MNANGAGWA and ask for her side of the story; neither did they go to the PresidentPresident or his government for their comment. Why? Because they indulged in a wilful ignorance where you shut your eyes and pretend you have not seen it.
Proper journalism will have had a part where the accused would be given a chance to respond, called the Right of reply.
You should always offer the Right of reply when making allegations. However, there will be some cases where this rule needs to be checked with senior editorial colleagues and one wonders if the Aljazeera journalist did that.
If, for example, you uncover information that you consider to be in the public interest and which involves serious allegations against an individual or group, it might not be appropriate to approach those who are the focus of the piece of investigative journalism.
This is particularly important if the information could lead to criminal arrest. In most cases, the fact that a person has agreed to be interviewed is sufficient to prove informed consent, but in this case, not even one person who is being accused was ever interviewed.
It does not matter that the country in question is a third-world country. AlJazeera will never publish allegations against the First Lady of America where due diligence has not been taken. Every person, regardless of their colour, has a right to be heard. Throughout the four episodes of the so-called Gold Mafia there was never a clip of confirmation from those who have been mentioned, especially the first family. There has not been a prima facile case in the documentary. The documentary dwelt and bordered on speculation allegations and baseless boasting. Nobody needs to prove his innocence.
Surprisingly in the documentary, no Mafia was exposed except one boastful ambassador and two individuals with criminal pasts.
What we have been told is that there is Mafia. But we never saw the Mafia. All we saw was a bunch Of journalists doing a sorry affair of stupid journalism and idiots pretending to be great people. There is no prima facie case but just a narrative and journalists in the conman’s outfit. It was just a fake story.
Aljazeera has had its motives elsewhere, and some of our people are gullible to believe fiction is real. In the documentary, there was no gold seen leaving Zimbabwe, no money coming in Zimbabwe; all we saw were con artists battling it to prove their expertise.
Aljazeera took two years to come up with such a document. This is shameful and, indeed, unacceptable.
The government is not on the run or on the fence, as alleged by some opposition media. Again the Gold Mafia proved not to be the greatest scandal; it does not eclipse Willogate.
One wonders, What is here to answer? The documentary is a shame an attempt at journalism only attracts the mind of the gullible and those with ulterior motives.
There is inherent human dignity protected by the laws to protect the Right to privacy. Privacy has dignity promises which give individuals confidence and peace of mind. You do not budge in someone’s life without being allowed in. Issues of defamation are dignity issues. AlJazeera conflated the President’s life with his private life when they brought in the First Lady in a case of a boastful individual.
When Angel called the First Lady and put her speaker phone, that was intrusive; it was a violation of human rights, and Aljazeera decided to publish that phone call without verifying the identity person on the other end of the line was irresponsible. We must remember that Demonstration is an assemble-in motion; it is a hybrid right it protects the Right to meet and the Right to express and hold an opinion. Private rights can be blended like the dignity right and the Right to life, which is more comprehensive than to breathe on and breathe out. Right to life goes beyond mere leaving but leaving with dignity. When they did that to Mai MNANGAGWA it was undignified and an abuse of journalistic rights. Suppose the member of the public is making a significant contribution on which the whole item or broadcast programme is based. In that case, it must be clear to them that the other party will be asked to confirm the story. They have a right to respond and know. if there is a discussion or debate surrounding their contribution and, if so, the range of views being represented and the likely contributors should be made clear to them. This is called fairness.
Seeking a response is the backbone of investigative journalism.
In cases where there are allegations of wrongdoing, you need to offer a fair opportunity for people to respond to the allegations before broadcast or publication. When seeking a response, a journalist needs to keep accurate records of when, how and where the person was approached, along with their response to the offer.
If the material is for TV and radio, that response needs to be broadcast in the same programme or simultaneously, as the allegation is made. Again, legal reasons might override this.
The First Lady was a victim the moment Angel called her while he was flanked by a bunch of criminals masquerading as journalists. When you are on speaker phone, you should be told. The Right to privacy of the First Lady was attacked. When you attack the First Lady, you are attacking the President. If anything, the government will send a strong statement that people have a right not to be harassed or abused. Imputing a none existent crime is wrong. Govt can only respond when there is a prima facile case. In any law, there are very few circumstances when the onus shift from the accuser to the accused.
You can’t make an irrational call and Demand an answer. What was prominent in this case was a constitutional attack. The First Lady faced an attack on her privacy and dignity. Aljazeera was trying to steal dignity, the values that can not be redeemed. They try to remove the first family’s pride and drag it into the mud.
We are dealing with people who want to avoid looking at facts. You can’t call them wrong because they are not worth employing the moral standards between bad and good. They are beyond judging. It is misguided to call them bad they are ingenious and hell-bent on evil. They are not even making an effort to analyse the facts. They are hell-bent on accusing and labelling the country and its leadership as criminals. They are hell-bent on opposing.
Attacking a family means you are a coward and vulgar. In politics, you take the ball, not the man. Politicians subject themselves to rigorous scrutiny. If you attack a family, you are being a severe coward. If you break into the arena, you must leave a family alone; never hit below the belt; it is disgraceful.
The telephone, the First Lady, received was a responsive one. She did no active phone, she was phoned, we saw it with our own eyes, and we heard it. She was deliberately called but stood on her ethics and demanded that the caller talk to Baba. Her response could have been more substantive it was a referral response. She never enquired to understand the substance of the case. She advised Angel to speak to the father.
The First Lady never got into the substance, and labelling her as part of the Gold Mafia is mischievous.
This is assuming that the voice might be that of the First Lady. AlJazeera lost the opportunity of verifying that, they were supposed to call the First Lady and ask her to confirm that she was the owner of the voice on the other side. But because they were hell burnt to soil the good name of the First Lady, they did not bother.
It is never appropriate to broadcast or publish an interview in which the contributor goes on a name-calling spree without confirming with those named. However, if such a case arises, it must be made clear to the audience the conditions that were set in order to obtain the interview.
The contributor must also be told that you will be making this clear before and after the interview is aired/published.
In all cases, if you can not obtain comments from those mentioned, you should withdraw from the project.
Therefore, the documentary is a fishing expedition and must be rejected with the contempt it deserves.
Dr Masimba Mavaza