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This article participates on the following special index pages:

  • Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles


  • Daily Election Report - Issue 16
    The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
    July 30, 2013

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    Print report for Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    Herald buries news of huge rally

    The Press carried 26 reports on the campaign activities of all the parties, 12 (46 %) of which appeared in The Herald.

    The private Press published the remaining 14: NewsDay (six) and Daily News (eight).

    Of the 12 reports in The Herald six were promotional stories on Zanu-PF’s campaigns, and six attempted to discredit the MDC-T.

    For example, it ran an unsubstantiated front-page headline, ‘Key allies dump Tsvangirai, give poll preps thumbs up’, briefly quoting US ambassador to Harare, Bruce Wharton, and his Swedish counterpart commending the prevailing peaceful environment. But it provided no evidence that either ambassador had endorsed the election preparations being conducted by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC). Instead, this heavily editorialized story reported the National Constitutional Assembly’s Maddock Chivasa “slamming” the MDC-T for making unsubstantiated allegations against ZEC and quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa dismissing the MDC-T’s claims: “The spirit of the gallant heroes who fought for this country’s independence will conspire…to deliver a humiliating defeat to the neocolonialist forces here masquerading as the MDC formations.”

    Another contrived and distorted story gave space to the paper’s partisan “political analysts” castigating Morgan Tsvangirai for allegedly “threatening” war veterans and traditional leaders.

    Even in the paper’s brief and buried page two report on the MDC-T’s last star rally in Harare, party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is described as having continued with his “vitriolic” attack against ZEC, calling on staffers at the commission to resign. But it was silent on the huge numbers of people who attended and on the other issues he addressed.

    The paper’s lead story, ‘US blocks poll survey’, reported that the US had “gagged” an American democracy and governance “think-tank”, Freedom House, from releasing a survey indicating a “crushing victory” for Zanu-PF.

    Such distorted and inequitable coverage of the political parties’ campaign activities by the state-owned newspaper reinforced its habit of violating regional standards and protocols providing for fair and balanced coverage of all contesting parties during an election period, as well as section 160J of the Electoral Act, which guides the media’s conduct during elections.

    In contrast, the private media’s reports on the campaign activities of the parties were generally fair. NewsDay and the Daily News gave front-page status to the huge turnout at the MDC-T “cross over” rally in Harare where Tsvangirai was quoted saying he was confident of winning tomorrow’s elections despite evidence that Zanu-PF was planning to rig the result in “connivance” with ZEC.

    But if there was any need for confirmation, The Daily News was unequivocal in its support for the MDC-T in its editorial entitled, ‘Mugabe Must Go’.

    Electronic media report for Monday, July 29, 2013

    State broadcaster maintains its bias

    The electronic media was abuzz with reporting on the parties’ campaign activities as the poll countdown reached fever pitch.

    However, the coverage of the political parties’ campaign activities in the bulletins of the national broadcaster, ZBC, remained heavily skewed in favour of Zanu-PF.

    The local private radio stations, Star FM and ZiFM, joined ZTV and Spot FM in reflecting this bias as they all revisited Zanu-PF’s star rally in Harare on Sunday, while giving less coverage to the hugely well attended MDC-T final ‘Cross-Over’ rally held on open ground outside the Harare International Conference Centre.

    On ZTV alone, reports on Zanu-PF’s Harare rally occupied 20 minutes of the bulletin, while the more topical MDC–T rally, only received four minutes. Carefully edited footage of the event ensured that ZTV’s viewers never saw the extent of the massive turnout – just as the day before carefully edited footage of Mugabe’s rally at the National Sport Stadium excluded views of the many empty stands.

    In the private radio stations, Star FM and ZiFM reported extensively on Zanu-PF rallies in Harare and Manicaland, while the MDC-T was again underreported in three stories across these platforms. Studio 7 completely ignored party campaign stories altogether.

    Without a major Zanu-PF rally to report on, ZTV led its bulletin with a story about Mugabe hailing the party’s indigenization programme, while Spot FM led with Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s Zanu-PF rally in Buhera.

    None of the stations carried news of the minor political contestants.

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