HARARE, June 21 (The Source) – The Source, an independent business and financial online news agency, was launched on Friday at a local hotel amid calls by finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa for factual and responsible reporting on economic issues.
“I want to encourage you (The Source) to be very near to the facts. Please try to keep to the narrow and straight path of stating the factual position. I don’t think that anyone would have any quarrel when facts are given even though the facts may be distasteful but if they are facts I have to accept them,” he said.
He said there was need for real-time financial and economic information as Zimbabwe seeks to attract both local and foreign investment.
“Sound investment decisions can only be made on the basis of accurate and reliable information,” Chinamasa said.
The Source, which was established last year with the technical assistance of the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the European Journalism Centre, went live eight months ago.
The news agency, operated by Zimbabweans, serves the local media, financial organisations and ordinary citizens by providing them with trusted content.
“Although it is being officially launched today, The Source has been in operation for a few months now, providing a refreshing daily dose of important news on our markets. In this short spell of time, The Source has already been augmenting coverage of important market trends by other mainstream news outlets,” Chinamasa said.
“As government we welcome any positive contribution to our ongoing efforts to revive our economy; and the media has an important role to play in that regard.”
He took a swipe at the media for failing to tell the true story of Zimbabwe threatening to scare away investors.
“And once you write negatively about our country, it’s amplified outside and wherever I go, instead of discussing and talking business, I am made to explain stupid reports made everywhere about my country which have no basis. That is what bleeds my heart,” he said.
“I hope what The Source is attempting to do will go a long way to give accurate information about our economy.
“I am not saying the media should abandon its key watchdog role of holding officials, both in the public and private spheres accountable to their voters and shareholders, I am simply making a case for responsible type of journalism that does not delight in unethical conduct and peddling blatant falsehoods.”
Chairman of The Source, Cris Chinaka said the new news agency would provide quality content covering key economic sectors.
“It’s the first private, independent financial and business news agency with a reputation for fact-based reporting and allowing a platform to exchange views,” he said.
Source editor-in-chief Nelson Banya said the news agency, set up by Zimbabweans with technical cooperation and assistance from the Thomson Reuters Foundation and the European Journalism Centre sought to fill a gap in the market for “quality” economic information.
“Partly as a consequence of the economic and political crisis that Zimbabwe went through between 2000 and 2009, there was a gap in the market certainly in the media industry,” he said.
He said The Source espoused a brand of journalism that stays away from highly politicised and personalised reporting while seeking to contribute towards the economic development of the country through the provision of accurate, market-moving content.
Guest of honour, Securities and Exchange Commission of Zimbabwe chief executive, Tafadzwa Chinamo said the media played a critical role in disseminating information.
“We can legislate and enforce all the laws, rules and regulations possible but without the right information available at the right time, our investors – local and foreign will be vulnerable,” he said.
He said SECZ would be interested to work and partner organizations that facilitated access to information investors needed to make informed decisions.
“For those outside the country, receiving the right information is vital. There is a lot that is said about Zimbabwe and its economy on a daily basis but at times the messages tend to confuse rather than inform,” he said.