In a shocking revelation, a senior official from Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment.
The incident has sparked a conversation about the pervasive issue of sexual harassment within the media industry.
The accused executive, whose identity remains undisclosed, allegedly demanded sexual favours from a female subordinate who had recently been transferred to Harare.
The case came to light when the victim recorded the executive’s inappropriate advances and preserved text messages that he had sent her.
Despite ZBC’s chief executive Adelaide Chikunguru’s denial of the suspension, multiple sources have confirmed that the executive has indeed been suspended and is awaiting a hearing scheduled in two weeks. The evidence against him, including the recordings and texts, is reportedly overwhelming.
This incident has raised concerns about the extent of sexual harassment within ZBC, with insiders suggesting that this case could be just the tip of the iceberg. Many female employees are believed to have been victims of similar misconduct.
A former executive of the broadcasting station, who requested anonymity confided to Zimbabwe Observer that sexual harassment was literally a trademark of ZBC.
“There is nothing new about that. Even mudhara eZanu PF or Ministry senior officials view female reporters as sexual toys for use and abuse,” he said.
He continued: “Remember these kids are naive and poorly remunerated, so they would be trying to get financial favours or promotions.”
The Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services was reportedly informed about the case. The current minister, Jenfan Muswere, who was appointed earlier this month, stated that he had been discussing issues related to sexual harassment in the media industry with the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC). The ZMC is expected to launch a policy document on sexual harassment in the industry this week.
Muswere’s predecessor, Monica Mutsvangwa, had previously expressed concern about the rampant abuse of women in media. She urged media organisations to adopt a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual harassment and create a safe environment for women journalists. Mutsvangwa highlighted that sexual harassment was a significant deterrent for women considering careers in journalism.
The ZBC scandal underscores the urgent need for such policies and measures. It serves as a stark reminder of the challenges women face in media and emphasizes the importance of creating safe workplaces free from harassment.