Zimbabwe: Poll Coverage Hailed

The print and broadcast media in the country have been commended for the manner in which they covered last year's elections.

This is contained in reports released by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) on coverage of the harmonised elections.

The ZMC, however, bemoaned the partisanship exhibited by the print media in its framing.

In the executive summary of the report, ZEC said the media conducted themselves in line with the dictates of the law.

"According to observations made by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, both radio and television channels managed to discharge their obligations in compliance with both the Zimbabwe Electoral Act and the Statutory Instrument 33 of 2008," reads part of the report.

"The Zimbabwe Media Commission makes a similar conclusion on the print media during the period under review.

"Electoral laws and regulations required broadcasters to include in their prime time schedule, programmes that included manifestos, discussions, interviews, voter education and advertisements.

"All broadcasters generally complied with their specific requirements based on equity in these regards. In addition, the electoral laws and regulations compelled broadcasters and the public media to provide news that is in line with ethical and professional standards of journalism.

"The media featured political party representatives, independent candidates, voters, the electoral management body, Government, observers, civil society organisations and other actors that were directly or indirectly related to the polls."

ZEC said the media had also adhered to journalistic standards.

In its summary on the performance of the broadcast media, BAZ made similar conclusions.

"According to observations made by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Department, both radio and television channels managed to discharge their obligations in compliance with the laws of Zimbabwe -- the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electoral Act and the Statutory Instrument 33 of 2008," said BAZ.

"Electoral laws and regulations required of the broadcasters to include in their prime time schedule, programmes that included (a) manifestos (b) discussions (c) interviews (d) voter education, (e) advertisements, and (f) news.

"All broadcasters generally complied with their specific requirements based on equity in these regards. In addition, the electoral laws and regulations compelled broadcasters to provide news that is in line with ethical and professional standards of journalism."

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