CCC MPs Express Concern Over Biased State-controlled Media Coverage During Elections
Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators expressed concerns about the biased coverage of State-controlled media, particularly the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), during general elections.
During a meeting to discuss the Electoral Amendment Bill, the CCC MPs suggested that the bill should further bind State media to be impartial in the pre-and post-election periods. However, Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi argued that ZBC should not be constrained by laws and should be allowed to operate freely, like any other media house. He claimed that the issue of ZBC being singled out for impartial coverage had fallen away due to the advent of technology and the presence of several media houses. He said:
I also agree that the issue of ZBC being singled out to be impartial, we now have several media houses. I think that has fallen away because of technology and the times that we are in, it is not necessary to single out the State media during elections.Feedback
There are several media houses and because of the advent of technology, there is no prejudice whatsoever. ZBC should be allowed to behave like any other media house according to their way of working. They should not be constrained to the rules set up by ZEC.
Charlton Hwende responded to Ziyambi saying ZBC is funded by taxpayers’ money and should, therefore, provide fair coverage to all political parties. He said:
Usanetseke neNetOne airtime.
Baya *405# utenge neEcoCash
On journalists, we are happy that you are also agreeing but the issue of ZBC, I do not understand your logic because the reason why ZBC is being singled out is because it is funded by taxpayers’ money.
The reason why it is funded by taxpayers’ money is precisely for them to cover all political parties, kwete zvenyu zvamunoita zvekuti (not what you are saying that) ZBC is only covering ZANU PF. They are not covering all other political parties and so forth.
According to the Electoral Act, ZBC and other public broadcasters and state-controlled media houses are required to provide equal coverage to participating political parties. However, State media has been accused of failing to comply with the Electoral Act during past elections.
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