Community Reporter

Bogus freelance journalists are now resorting to looting food and stationery at functions held in hotels, where the media are invited to cover.

These people come in the disguise of being bona fide reporters, they lie being attached to well known media houses, to gain entry at functions, once in, they then start looting food and stationery meant for delegates.

At the end of the function, they remain behind at bit, collecting sweets, pens and notepads, as well as drinks, like mazoe orange crush in small bottles of mineral water into their satchels.

The situation has now left real freelance reporter being taken with a pinch of salt by organisers of such functions, when attending workshops, or any other functions where members of the press are invited.

Lack of a vibrant association to cater for freelance journalists had made the situation even worse, as there is no basis for reprimanding such behaviours.

One freelance journalist has this to say while bad apples can be found in many professions, the lack of an association to oversee the work of freelancers is a cause for concern.

“Other professions like doctors, or lawyers have legally constituted body like Law Society of Zimbabwe, and any of its members who engage in matters that brings the name of the association into disrepute is drastically punished, at times can even recommend that their practising licence be cancelled.

“Or they can alert the citizens and corporate entities not to deal with that person. However, this is not the case with our profession hence our names are being soiled by these unscrupulous elements,” he says on condition of anonymity.

A number of freelance journalists who spoke to expressed dismay over the issue, some are even saying it is all about behaviour, as even the accredited journalists are also tempted to do the same because of hunger.

“Some of them are very senior journalists in the fraternity; who are doing this evil deed, we know them by names.

“But others are just friends of well known journalists, they get entry at functions under the cover of those experienced journalists, they loot even beers at functions to drink later as syndicates,” says another freelance journalist.  

Though, we could not get a comment from hotel operators like Rainbow Towers, or Crowne Plaza and others, reports are that some of them had complained over the issue.

Commenting on the matter, Brezhnev Malaba a senior journalist says “Gangs of food-hunting chaps masquerading as journalists are gate-crashing functions & looting food. These marauding villains must be stopped”.

As the economy continue to face challenges, a number of people have resorted to social ills such as stealing, prostitution, and this looting by fake journalists, in the name of having no enough jobs for them. This is unfortunate enough, as they hide at the back of unemployment as a justification of their deeds. While it should not be condoned, some think if the economy is sorted such elements could be minimised.