By Daniel Chigundu
Acting Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Simon Khaya-Moyo says the media has huge role to play in determining whether the country’s elections are free and fair.
Zimbabwe is in the process of preparing for general elections to be held in less than six months’ and there have been a lot of talk concerning the credibility of the country’s polls.
Issues that are easily at hand include access to information by the media and equal coverage by the media of all the participating political parties in the elections.
In past elections, opposition parties were being denied equal access to public broadcaster ZBC various platforms and state owned newspapers and they had to rely on independent media which does not have as much wide coverage as state-owned.
Addressing delegates at the launch of the Media and Elections Program (MEP), Minister Khaya-Moyo said the media has the power to tell the world the transparency levels of the country’s polls.
“The issue of free, fair and credible elections is what every Zimbabwean should be aiming for. That is why we applaud the partners to the program (MEP) we are launching today, namely the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe and the International Media Support for bringing in diverse expertise and skills that will add value to the media sector, especially at a time that the country is preparing for its general elections.
“The media have a big role play in informing the whole world about the transparency of our electoral processes to ensure a level electoral playing field. Credible elections are indeed a collective responsibility and all stakeholders including the media civil society organisations launching this program today and the media have a role to play in contributing to this objective,” he said.
The program (MEP) is funded by the European Union and the Norwegian government to the tune of EUR 850 000 with a view to capacitate the media and help improve its reporting and coverage.
Media in Zimbabwe has largely been focused on urban areas owing to unavailability of funds to cover the whole country or at least rural areas.