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  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles

  • Daily Election Report – Issue 01
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    July 15, 2013

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    ZBC bias continues to contaminate its bulletins

    The electronic media carried 13 reports on the campaign activities of Zimbabwe’s two main ruling parties, MDC-T and Zanu-PF, and the opposition Zapu.

    Of these, eight (62%) appeared on the national broadcaster, ZBC [ZTV (five) and Spot FM (three)]. The remaining five were broadcast by private radio stations.

    Four of the eight reports that appeared on ZBC were on the MDC-T. Three covered the campaigns of Zanu-PF, while the remaining one focused on Zapu.

    The report on Zapu was about the launch of its campaign manifesto in Harare (ZTV, 14/7, 8pm). It was balanced.

    The report largely provided details about Zapu’s manifesto, which was “premised on the need to bring accountability, fight corruption and the full implementation of the concept of devolution”.

    It reported Dabengwa dismissing concerns that his party’s alliance with the MDC-N was tribal and regional: “Those allegations have absolutely got no bearing at all”.

    Three of the four stories on the MDC-T were blatantly negative.

    These portrayed the party mostly as “corrupt and inefficient” at local government level and exhibiting “dictatorial tendencies”, citing, among others, the suspension of some of the party’s aspiring candidates such as Felix Mafa and Aaron Chinhara (ZTV, 14/7, 8pm).

    The remaining one was also negative because it narrowly focused on Tsvangirai’s call to MDC-T members “to desist from all forms of hate speech and (threats of) violence”, while addressing thousands of party supporters at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare. It ignored the main thrust of his speech about promising to create jobs and resuscitating the economy.

    Tsvangirai’s warning to his party’s members was ZTV’s only focus, suggesting the party had violent tendencies. The Prime Minister was reacting to comments by MDC-T youth leaders, Solomon Madzore and Promise Mkwananzi, who had been reported making inflammatory statements at different rallies in the same week.

    ZTV used a clip of Madzore speaking at Marondera and another of Douglas Mwonzora saying that his comments were taken out of context and then presented Tsvangirai’s Sakubva comments as contradicting this opinion. This report was given two minutes in the bulletin, while the report on Mugabe’s rally received five minutes. In contrast to Mugabe’s rally in Marange, ZTV never gave viewers an accurate impression of the size of the attendance at Sakubva, keeping a relatively close focus on Tsvangirai, whereas ZTV’s footage of Mugabe’s rally repeatedly panned across the entire expanse of his cheering supporters.

    All three stories on Zanu-PF portrayed the party positively.

    Zanu-PF was reported as heading for a “landslide victory” on the strength of its alleged popularity and sound policies such as the black economic empowerment programme and its “principled” stand against Western imperialism (ZTV, 14/7, 8pm). MDC-N was tribal and regional: “Those allegations have absolutely got no bearing at all”.

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