New Communication Technologies and Journalism Ethics in Zimbabwe: Practices and Malpractices

Tendai Chari 1 *

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New media technologies have transformed journalism practice in a profound way and Zimbabwe has not been exception. However, research on the impact of these technologies on journalism ethical is troublingly scant. Much of the scholarly attention tends to focus on uses of new media technologies in everyday practice, while their ethical implications are pushed to the backstage. This is in spite of the fact that, the social utility of journalism is largely predicated on its ability to function as a provider of public knowledge, and “truthful, comprehensive and intelligent” accounts of news and events (Ward 2008). The present study examines ethical challenges faced by Zimbabwean journalism practitioners when using the internet, email and cellular phones in their operations. The study combines a survey questionnaire and semi-structured interviews to elicit data on ethical challenges and dilemmas faced journalism practitioners in Zimbabwe.. Results reveal a dialectical impact of new media technologies on journalism and suggest that, the Internet, email and cellular phone are viewed as enhancers as well as obstacles to ethical journalism. The paper motivates for the application of the sociology of journalism ethics as a framework for examining ethical challenges and dilemmas faced by journalism practitioners when using new media technologies. It is argued that the practice of ethical journalism should be viewed as circumscribed by the interaction of a complex web of structural, institutional and socio-economic factors, both internal and external to the environment in which journalism is practiced.


Ethical Challenges New Communication Technologies Journalism ethics Journalism practice Sociology of Journalism Ethics Malpractices


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp. 112-136

Published Online: 24 Apr 2013

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