05.07.2018 - UNESCO Office in Harare

Report harassment to the police, journalists told

From left: Zimbabwe Independent Editor, Dumisani Muleya; VMCZ Executive Director, Laughty Dube; and Media Monitors Director, Patience Zirima.

Zimbabwean Journalists should report any cases of harassment they encounter as they report and cover the 2018 elections, an official from the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) said.

Commissioner Joyce Laetitia Kazembe, from the ZEC Media Monitoring Committee, said this during a Media and Elections Live Broadcast organised by Media Monitors (MM) and the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) in partnership with the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa. The discussion, hosted in front of a live audience at ZiFM Stereo, ran under the theme, ‘Media in support of free, fair and credible elections in Zimbabwe’.

“Journalists who are harassed or experience violence in their reporting should report to the police. We will direct (violence-related) complaints to the police who are the law enforcement agents,” Commissioner Kazembe said. She pointed this out in response to Nigel Nyamutumbu from Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, who was part of the audience and had asked the mechanisms put in place by ZEC to protect journalists who might be victimised for covering certain political parties during this election period.

Commissioner Kazembe added that the role of the Election Commission is to ensure that all political parties and candidates receive fair, balanced, equitable and equal coverage across all media, that is, both public and private media. She added that in carrying out this mandate, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission collaborates with the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

Executive Director of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) Laughty Dube urged ZEC to tap in and work with organisations like Media Monitors for it to effectively monitor the operations of the media, as such organisations have vast experience in the media.

Editor of the Zimbabwe Independent, Dumisani Muleya, said the issue of media polarisation has a huge dent on efforts by the media to provide objective coverage. Newspaper editors have platforms in which they engage each other as practitioners, reminding each other to stick to the tenets of the journalism profession like impartiality, fairness and balance, he said.

The media should not be seen to be assisting election candidates, as this is a disservice to the public, the nation and the profession, castigated Muleya.

Zimbabwe will go to the polls on 30th July 2018, and this Media and Elections Live Broadcast provided insights from key election and media stakeholders on how the media should function and conduct its business in the period before, during and after an election.

For more information, please contact: h.dlamini(at)unesco.org. 

<- Back to: Regional Office for Southern Africa
Back to top