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urged to tackle hate speech
Alex Bell, SW Radio
July 24, 2013
With just a
week to go until the elections in Zimbabwe, the Commission tasked
a free and fair poll is under pressure to tackle the worsening
problem of hate speech.
hate speech have been on the rise, as the campaign trails of the
main political parties contesting in the polls next week, hot up.
The worst incidents have been seen in the Zanu-PF aligned state
media, which has been ratcheting up its hate speech in recent weeks.
The main victim
of this has been MDC-T President and Robert Mugabe’s main
rival, Morgan Tsvangirai. Most recently, the ZBC has been flighting
political adverts for Zanu-PF which have been dragging Tsvangirai’s
name through the mud. This includes a series of interview with the
Prime Minister’s alleged sexual conquests.
not the only target of the hate speech. Recently, the Zanu-PF mouthpiece
newspaper the Herald has been publishing increasing acid attacks
against the South African facilitation official, Lindiwe Zulu. The
hate speech against her has continued, despite Mugabe’s successful
bid to have her silenced by South African President Jacob Zuma.
Electoral Commission (ZEC) last week pledged to tackle the problem,
saying it is getting more reports of hate speech in the run up to
elections next week. In a statement last Friday, the electoral body
said it had received several complaints and would make individual
follow-ups on each complaint with a view to charging offenders.
Electoral Commission has received various complaints from across
the political divide on use of inflammatory language and hate speech
by political players and in media reports,” ZEC said.
Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director Takura Zhangazha
said it is critical for the editorial policies of newsrooms to change,
if hate speech was to be tackled effectively. He said this would
only be successful when people actively complain and these complaints
are followed up.
challenge is that these complaints are not always brought forward,
so a change is only likely in so far as people complain,”
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