ZwNews Chief Correspondent
The Zimbabwean media has failed to shake off the old ghost; this is despite operating in a slightly changed environment, where some form of freedom of expression is being enjoyed by the citizenry at large.
It has remained polarised as before.
According to the Zimbabwe Media Review (Zim Media Review), an organisation that reviews the country’s media content, news updates, political commentary and support freedom of expressing, Zimbabwe’s media landscape has remained unchanged, as far as their reportage and editorial slants are concerned.
Zim Media Review says the country’s media both state and private press, are breaching the electoral law by taking sides in the way they are reporting election related news.
“Despite improved coverage of opposition activities on the news, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) news bulletins are still, and essentially just long adverts for ZANU PF.
“The Herald remains openly pro-ZANU PF.
“Private papers, even in editorials and cartoons are biased towards MDC-Alliance. All in breach of the Electoral Act,” notes the Zim Media Review.
Meanwhile, according to the Electoral Act, the media is not supposed to be or exhibit some form of bias or favouritism for or against any of the contesting political parties or candidates.
Commenting on the role of the media during election time, European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Philippe Van Damme said media has a critical role in electoral process. Van Damme recently, called on the public media to lead by example in their obligation to offer balanced access to and fair coverage of political parties.
The comments by the Zim Media Review come at a time the ZBC was under-fire for giving ZANU PF more space to advertise, or sell itself to the electorate, while opposition parties are rarely covered.
However, Media and Broadcasting Services Permanent Secretary, George Charamba, who also doubles as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s spokesperson, defended ZBC saying opposition parties mainly the MDC-Alliance is failing to pay for the adverts, hence its absence from the airwaves. zwnews