Media’s ability to cover elections in a professional and accurate manner is key to ensuring that the population has access to the information they need to make an informed choice of candidate and parties. In support of free and fair elections, the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) on 1 February launched a media and elections programme implemented in partnership with International Media Support with funding support from European Union Delegation to Zimbabwe and the Norway Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Between October 2017 to March, nine local media organizations under the auspices of MAZ will collaborate with key stakeholders towards enhancing media operators’ knowledge and skills as well as improve citizen access to information on electoral matters. The funding support towards this project totals Euro 897 885.
MAZ partners will seek to contribute towards free and fair elections where media rights, freedom of information and expression are guaranteed and all citizens are free to participate in the electoral process.
The Programme will specifically support the media on the following areas.
- Training of mainstream journalists and citizen Journalists in election reporting and use of mainstream and alternative media platforms to share information and facilitate public debate on electoral matters.
- Media Monitoring, fact checking and analysis of press coverage of the elections.
In line with the above, MAZ expects that the media will play an integral role in informing public debate leading to transparency in electoral processes. MAZ notes that the media are constrained in this role by limitations in knowledge and professional skills amongst journalists; limited citizen access to diverse media; threats to journalists by political actors, arrests of journalists and underrepresentation of marginalized communities. Emerging challenges include the spread of fake news and threats to online freedoms.
MAZ anchors this programme on the 2013 SADC and AU observer missions’ recommendations that the media adhere to the Constitution of Zimbabwe, providing fair presentation of divergent views and desist from political bias.
MAZ also notes that the current political dispensation provides a renewed impetus for the Zimbabwe government and civil society to support a more democratic and well-informed media that could positively influence the conduct of elections.
For more information on the Programme, please contact: Patience Zirima, MAZ Chairperson: email to , Mobile: +263773469077
Finn Rasmussen, IMS Head of Africa Department: email to , Tel: +45 8832 7000
Brenda CANDRIES, EU Programme Officer – Governance: email to , Tel: +263 (4) 338158/64