Back to Index, Back to Special Index
This article participates on the following special index pages:
Zimbabwe's Elections 2013 - Index of Articles
ethics analysis column: 28 August 2013
Media Council of Zimbabwe
August 28, 2013
is life after elections”
Welcome to the
final publication of the VMCZ Media Ethics Column on the 31
July 2013 harmonised elections. The column will however, continue
to run on a weekly basis to upgrade members on issues identified
by the Media Ethics Committee (MEC) as significantly impacting on
ethical coverage of new stories by Zimbabwe’s media.
This current edition
shall however, analyse the media’s coverage of the following
news events in the last week (19-26 August 2013):
a) The Inauguration
of the President of Zimbabwe.
b) The election of Mayors and Council Chairpersons
c) Newly elected Members of Parliament
It is against this background
that the MEC analyzed stories from different media houses among
them the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television and
the five daily newspapers, namely, News Day, The Herald, The Chronicle,
The Southern Eye and the Daily News.
coverage on the President’s inauguration
Although the MEC lauds
a fair coverage of the President’s inauguration, cases of
partisan reportage are still conspicuous. The MEC took into account
how the public media focused on congratulating the president-elect
on his seventh five-year term as head of state and private media
focusing on the preparedness of the event.
However, the MEC also
took note of some newspaper sections that were awash with inflammatory
language. The public media mocked perceived losers through unsavory
language and inferences.
On the opposite end,
the private media declared the inauguration the last of its kind
for the ailing leader amid succession disputes within his (President’s)
party. There was also emphasis on the issue of how many heads of
state and government from SADC and the African Union eventually
turned up at the event without follow up as to why they may or may
not have attended.
The MEC urges editors
of all daily newspapers to take note of the need for continued professional
and ethical standards in reporting even in highly political moments
such as was the Presidential inauguration ceremony.
election of Mayors and Council Chairpersons
The MEC also observed
that the election of Mayors and council Chairpersons has been a
contentious issue in the media. Particularly where it concerned
the legal criteria for the election of selected candidates. There
was inadequate follow up stories on the mechanisms in which the
mayors were to be elected and some of the stories that were eventually
published had components of political bias. Particularly in the
public media. It is therefore pertinent for media practitioners
to be accurate, fair and balanced in their reporting and also to
undertake the necessary follow up stories on issues that will not
yet be concluded.
elected Members of Parliament
The MEC observed that
both public and private media covered some newly elected Members
of Parliament extensively. The coverage has also focused on issues
of the limited academic credentials of some of these new Members
of Parliament. In the process of correctly subjecting leaders to
public scrutiny, there was however, the occasional omission of the
fact that in relation to Parliament, there are no minimum academic
If members of the public
are not happy with any story published by the media in Zimbabwe
on any election related matter they are free to lodge a complaint
with the VMCZ’s Media Complaints Committee.
the VMCZ fact
Please credit www.kubatana.net if you make use of material from this website.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License unless stated otherwise.