News reports saying veteran journalist and former Zimbabwe Standard Deputy Editor Bill Saidi would be joining the state-controlled Herald newspaper as a top editor has sparked wide speculation that media reform may be under way at the often tendentious Herald.

Saidi is respected among Zimbabwean journalists as a highly professional editor of personal integrity, leading to the conclusion an overhaul was in the works at the Herald.

But skeptics said Saidi had been forced to step down from the privately owned Standard to make way for younger journalists, and that consequently his reported move to the Herald might not be a harbinger of imminent reform in Zimbabwe's state media establishment.

VOA was unable to reach Saidi immediately for comment.

President Matthew Takaona of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists told reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that there has been widespread speculation as to Saidi's move, but said he doubts Saidi's hiring would signal a major editorial shift.

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