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ZMC Engage The Media, Readies For Elections

By Shingirai Vambe

Harare- Over a thousand accredited, in the mainstream, online, content creators and international journalists, are expected to cover this year’s General Election in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) asserts.

The Commission Board Chairman, Ruby Magosvongwe told Journalists in Harare last week, that as expected after the proclamation by the President, the media as a key stakeholder must be prepared to give fair, balanced and credible coverage to all the parties and participants of the election.

“Zimbabwe is therefore on the irreversible path to the 2023 elections. ZMC welcomes the upcoming election period as an opportunity for Zimbabweans to exercise their constitutional right to choose their governors and representatives. Those rights of course come with responsibilities and ultimately also of us have a responsibility to protect Zimbabwe, for ourselves and for future generations. These expectations place huge burden on entities like the ZMC,” Magosvongwe said.

Magosvongwe, commissioners and ZMC team urged journalists to be professional in their conduct and execution of duty, citing the need, each time, visit the Elections Reporting and Peace Journalism Manual which was put together through the support of a development partner, UNESCO after consultations with stakeholders.

Acting Secretary, Bvumayi Chinamhora to the Post On Sunday Newspaper that the Manual was done following reports and consultations that the commission and the development partner undertook in previous elections and from practicing journalists in Zimbabwe.

Every election period, journalists fall victims of intimidation, physical attack and confiscation of their equipment and the commission notes, SADC guidelines African Charter, UNESCO guidelines on election reporting as well as international best practice on the conduct of media during the electoral period and the manual highlighting among other issues, the safety of Journalists.

“The Commission is also interested in enhancing the security of Journalists during the election period. To that end, the Commission will be engaging different stakeholders to have an appreciation of the work that Journalists do,” said Magosvongwe.

In line with the provisions of the Electoral Act, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZMC) will soon be setting up a media monitoring Committee to monitor the coverage of the 2023 Harmonized General Elections. The Committee is comprised of the ZEC, ZMC and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). The committee is chaired by ZEC and is required to produce a report which is an addendum to the main elections report.

The President, Emmerson Mnangagwa has since pronounced the election date, August 23 2023 will be the day the country is expected to democratically exercise their rights by way of voting, to choose leaders, MPs, Councilors and President of their choice to lead in the next 5 years until the next election.

In conclusion, Magosvongwe said, “We call upon all to Respect The Sanctity of Facts”.