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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
Daily Election Report - Issue 16
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe
July 30, 2013
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report for Tuesday, July 30, 2013
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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”
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
media report for Monday, July 29, 2013
broadcaster maintains its bias
media was abuzz with reporting on the parties’ campaign activities
as the poll countdown reached fever pitch.
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
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
None of the
stations carried news of the minor political contestants.
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