Zimbabwe's Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu has called on journalists in the SADC region to be wary of imperialists who are working to divide their countries on the pretext of promoting media freedom.
In a speech read on his behalf at the Southern Africa Journalists' Association (SAJA) annual congress in Harare on Saturday, Shamu said journalists should foster multilateral integration in order to properly articulate the story of their people.
"A united media workforce in the region can significantly assist in promoting regional cooperation and integration in SADC (The Southern African Development Community)," he was quoted by The Sunday Mail as saying.
"SAJA should be awake to the dangers of accepting and promoting the imperialist agenda of regional fragmentation in the name of media pluralism. Your numbers should be the weapon and strength you deploy in executing your functions as the voices of the region," he said.
It is in that spirit that Zimbabwe and Namibia are cooperating to enhance the capacity of The Southern Times newspaper to articulate the needs and aspirations of the region, he said.
"As journalists from the SADC region, your first priority is to defend and promote the interests of the citizens of the region. Our journalists should be the trusted voices of the people of the region. They owe their allegiance to the people of the region," Shamu said.
The annual congress, held under the theme "Consolidating Journalists and Media Workers' Trade Union Rights and Media Freedom", drew journalists from across the region.