Embarking on any new venture is a gamble because you are venturing into the unknown. Worse still is starting a newspaper or newsletter because you do not know how readers will receive the new publication.
We at The Insider have decided to start this newsletter because we feel there is a gap that we can fill. We are not saying the existing publications have failed to fill this gap, but simply that there are not enough publications in this country to quench the insatiable thirsty of Zimbabwean readers.
Ours is therefore a small, very portable newsletter. But we must emphasize that we are only small in size not in news content or quality. This is simply because we do not carry any commercial advertising and we do not intend to do so.
Although we only have 12 pages, therefore, we actually carry as much news as a 30 to 36-page magazine because for a newspaper or magazine to make it, its advertising content should be at least 60 percent.
We will not carry any commercial advertising because we do not want to be held to ransom, if we may use that word, by our advertisers. We are therefore going to rely on you the readers. Our responsibility will therefore be to you the readers. We will give you news without fear or favour as far as is practically possible.
This is obviously an enormous task but we intend to fulfil it. We believe that a public well informed is better off.
We will therefore carry a variety of news and entertainment stories with our basic aim being that of informing the public and relying on that public to inform us so that we can spread the news.
We will not align ourselves with any political, religious, social, ethnic or regional group, nor shall we owe any allegiance to any individual or group.
We will therefore carry all and any news that we feel the public should know. It is therefore inevitable that we will step on some people’s toes. This might prove embarrassing to the people concerned and may affect their status. But our aim will only be to expose the wrong doing. Justice, should it prevail, should then take its course for we are not judges or prosecutors but merely state witnesses.
We are quite aware that everyone is entitled to some privacy. Indeed we agree with that. But we also contend that once you are a public figure you are more open to scrutiny. We are not saying public figures should be saints but surely we expect them to behave responsibly if they are handling State funds or can easily use their influence for capital gain. In this respect we expect them to be no less than saints.
As you will read elsewhere in this newsletter, we are also trying to promote writing among our people. Our readers are therefore free to contribute to any section of the newsletter and where possible, remuneration will be paid for their contributions.
We have started this newsletter at a time when the government has embarked on phased trade liberalisation. We hope this liberalisation will not only be limited to trade but will extend to such other fundamental rights as freedom of association and expression. Some people have argued that freedom of expression is relative. Our understanding of this term has been that journalists and especially those on this paper and those who will contribute to it should be responsible. The only question is responsible in whose opinion?
In our opinion when politicians say journalists should be responsible they actually mean that they should be loyal to them. They should not criticise them or write anything that might blemish their political careers.
The same applies to business, religious and other leaders. When they say journalists should be responsible they actually mean that you should not write any story that will affect their business or status.
We do not subscribe to this kind of thinking. We believe we should be responsible to our readers, or to the Zimbabwean people because we believe that they have a right to know anything that happens in their country as it will inevitable affect their lives.
We are quite aware that some people claim to be doing certain things for the poor especially the peasants when they are actually doing it for their own personal interests. In simple langauge this is cheating so we will not hesitate to expose such activities and whoever is involved.
As you will read elsewhere in this newsletter, when our leaders get into power they think they are doing everything for the nation. Indeed this may be true at first but they soon relax and start enjoying the benefits of power and continue to do things ostensibly for the benefit of the people. By the time the people realise what is actually happening, they have drained the nation and have fat accounts overseas. Some leaders are now even richer than the countries they rule.
Lest we be misconstrued when we talk about leaders, we are not only talking about political leaders, but also those of commerce and industry, religion, non-governmental organisations and service organisations. We are talking about anyone who does service to the community for that person should provide service to the community and not to individuals and especially not for himself or herself.