LEADING State-owned publisher Zimpapers has suspended the publication of some of its newspapers due to the coronavirus pandemic, and has ordered some staff to work from home until the situation normalizes. The publication of H-Metro, Kwayedza, Suburban (Harare), uMthunywa and B-Metro (Bulawayo) has been suspended until further notice.
“However, due to the critical nature of the issue, the company has decided that The Herald, The Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Sunday News and The Manica Post, will carry reports and educational messages on the virus in local languages,” said Zimpapers. The statement further says only critical staff will continue operating from the main centres in Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Kariba, as well as its bureaux across the country.
About 53 percent of the staff have been sent on leave as part of efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus, while the rest will either be on leave or working from the factory, the statement says. The entire team at BoldAds, Zimpapers advertising arm, will work from home while over 50 percent of the workforce at Zimbabwe Television Network (ZTN) has been asked to either work from home or take their leave days.
Zimpapers owns or operates Star FM and Capitalk in Harare, Nyaminyami in Kariba and Diamond FM in Mutare. The four radio stations will have to share live programmes and pre-record sponsored shows to help decongest studios. Zimpapers said it had also reviewed its stocks of newsprint, inks and plates, among others. Most of these materials are imported from countries where lockdowns have been effected, particularly China and South Africa.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, while announcing emergency measures against coronavirus this week, urged the public and private sector to find ways of reducing congestion and even work from home to help with nationwide efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19.