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Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
ethics analysis column: 12 August – 18 August 2013
Media Council of Zimbabwe
August 20, 2013
not sow seeds of disharmony’
Welcome to the
fifth publication of the VMCZ Media Ethics Column.
assessment would be based on a reading of media stories from 12
August to 18 August 2013.
The VMCZ Media
Ethics Committee analysed stories from various media houses that
include the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television and
the five daily newspapers, namely, NewsDay, The Herald, The Chronicle,
The Southern Eye and the Daily News.
The Media Ethics
Committee paid particular attention on Election petitions and the
SADC Summit held in Lilongwe Malawi last week. Both print and broadcast
media institutions reported on election petitions and the SADC summit
proceedings differently and the committee took into account how
broadcast media covered this event.
committee highlighted key issues prior to the preceding review,
the issue of continued polarisation in the broadcast media is still
of great concern. On the contrary some private media institutions
are partisan in their coverage of opposition parties.
It is against
this background that the MEC identified key issues over the preceding
week as being the following:
of election petitions
ii) Malawi SADC Summit
iii) Media coverage of the forthcoming Presidential inauguration
coverage on election petitions
petition filed by outgoing Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai
received extensive coverage from both the print and the broadcast
Both the state
controlled and private media took a partisan stance in either supporting
the outgoing Prime Minister’s court application or castigating
the court application. In doing so the media breached Section 10
(a) of the VMCZ’s Code
of Conduct which states:
a) Media practitioners
and media institutions must not publish material that is intended
or likely to engender hostility or hatred towards persons on the
grounds of their race, ethnic origin, nationality, gender, sexual
orientation, physical disability, religion or political
The MEC urges
media institutions to strive to uphold a professional conduct during
Malawi SADC Summit
controlled media coverage on the summit dwelled on the grand welcome
for President Mugabe in Malawi, ZBC stopped at nothing to gloat
on the support Zanu-PF received from SADC leaders. On contrary,
private media paid particular attention on the attempts by civil
society and the MDC attempts to lobby regional leaders to reject
the poll outcome in Zimbabwe.
The MEC however,
noted with great concern how state broadcaster ZBC gave ample coverage
to Zanu-PF officials gloating on the fairness and credibility of
this year’s elections while the opposition was not afforded
an opportunity to give its views. It is against this background
that the MEC emphasizes Section 4(v) of the code of conduct to media
institutions the section states that:
4 (v) Media
institutions must endeavour to provide full, fair and balanced reports
of events and must not suppress essential information pertaining
to those events. They must not distort information by exaggeration,
by giving only one side of a story, by placing improper emphasis
on one aspect of a story, by reporting the facts out of the context
in which they occurred or by suppressing relevant available facts.
They must avoid using misleading headlines or billboard postings.
Media coverage of the forthcoming Presidential inauguration
The much anticipated
Presidential inauguration slated for this week Thursday has been
covered from a different perspective by both the private and state
run media institutions.
The MEC also
took note that while the state media was positive that the electoral
challenge will pave the way for the president’s inauguration,
the private media was of the opinion that the inauguration would
be delayed by the electoral petitions.
The media was
speculating on the inauguration event with the state media anticipating
the use of a bigger venue for the event.
On the contrary
private media cited grave concern of the president’s age ahead
a 7th term. A number of pieces, some with an underlying tone of
hate language, were published as an outcry of the president’s
ability to rule for another 5years.
Over and above,
MEC took note of efforts by media practitioners to urge the nation
to desist from violence and move on. The committee urges media institutions
to abide the VMCZ Code of Conduct for Zimbabwe which promotes media
professionalism and accountability.
the VMCZ fact
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