The media is a key enabler to the delivery of justice, and this begins with factual reporting, the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe has said.
Addressing journalists at a Law Society President’s Media engagement workshop held at the Law Society of Zimbabwe, LSZ president Rumbidzai Matambo, said journalism and law had a relationship and it was always important to have an appreciation of each other’s work.
She urged journalists to familiarise themselves with the language used in the court processes as it helps in factual reporting.
“Factual reporting, in our considered view, has its roots in knowledge of the processes, procedures and diction used in our courts.
“This training is an extension of our corporate social responsibility programme in that we think once journalists are trained, the public will benefit. This is to give effect to our statutory mandate to regulate in the public interest while at the same time, protecting the interests of our members,"” she said.
The workshop was attended by journalists and court reporters from various media stables with an objective of ensuring factual and truthful reporting on court and Parliamentary matters.
Matambo said the Law Society of Zimbabwe was worried on the soaring numbers matters of lawyers that were being heard before the courts.
“The Law Society also remains concerned about the rising number of bogus lawyers but want to thank authorities for always moving in swiftly to deal with such cases as and when they are reported.
She added that the Society will continually inform on registered and deregistered lawyers.
“A lot can still be done and stakeholders, particularly the media, should work continue to work together to uproot such malcontents from our midst.
“Our website will continue to carry updated lists of registered legal practitioners and those that have either been suspended or deregistered.
“The public is urged to demand a valid Practicising Certificate from a legal practitioner each time they seek to engage one. It is their right, and they should exercise it,” she said.
Matambo added that they were continuously monitoring the state of the rule of law and where elements of erosion begin to showthey would quickly raise concerns and engage relevant arms of state.
Lawyer Chris Mhike, who was one of the trainers at the workshop, said to avoid misleading readers, it was necessary for journalists to ensure accurate information is consumed by the people.
"Journalists should be able to fact check whatever that would be happening in courts to give detailed reporting to the masses.
"If your media house does not have an editorial policy l would strong advice you to have one," he said.
Mhike also urged journalists to familiarise themselves with the Electronic Case Management Systems..
Cris Chinaka, a seasoned journalist and trainer, said journalists were supposed to be sure of whatever news they will be disseminating to save the reader from confusion.
"Let's work on our journalistic capacity.
"Journalists have to know what they are doing. We must work on ourselves to inspire confidence.
"We should let our work speak for itself," he said.
He urged young journalists to always leave room to learn new things and be committed to fair, balanced and accurate reporting.
The Law Society President's Media engagement is an annual event that is used to interact with journalists on issues affecting both professions.