Media must be positive, promote peace: ZMC

Farirayi Kahwemba

Journalists covering Zimbabwe’s upcoming harmonised elections have a responsibility to enlighten society about the policies of all the contesting political parties so that everyone will be well informed when they approach the ballot box.

Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) Chairperson Professor Ruby Magosvongwe made this call during a speech to conclude a tournament held at the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Golf Club.

Local media organisations, corporate companies and government bodies took part in the tournament, ZMC hosted on 28 July as part of an initiative to create peace and stability during the run up to the polls. Magosvongwe reminded journalists of the important role their profession plays in education and informing the public.

Over 50 foreign media organizations have so far been granted permission to cover Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections, to be held on 23 August.

Some of the notable organisations include the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Channel Africa Radio, The Telegraph, Associated Press (AP), Cable News Network (CNN), ITV, New York Times, Voice of America (VoA), Financial Times, Aljazeera and Wall Street Journal.

Additionally, the Government has invited 46 countries, 51 embassies as well as observer missions from the United States of America (USA), the European Union (EU) as well as the Southern African Development Community (SADC). As the global interest on the poll continues to heighten, the Zimbabwe government has also called upon all journalists to uphold the highest ethical standards by reporting accurately and providing fair and balanced coverage to all political players.

It is against such a back- ground of events that Magosvongwe implored media practitioners to be objective.

“The media industry must play a positive role in ensuring peace and help all those who wish to exercise their democratic right to vote to be informed about the candidates and political parties that are contesting,” Magosvongwe said.

“We urge the media to have a positive attitude that will help us to build the country through tolerance and as peaceful atmosphere,” she added.

“The journalism profession expects practitioners to be truthful, factual and objective in their duty to inform, educate and entertain the people,” she explained.

According to section 249 of the Zimbabwe Constitution, the ZMC has the mandate to “promote and enforce god practices and ethics” as well as to encourage the formulation of codes of conduct for persons employed in the media.

The ZMC also has the authority to “take action against journalists and other people employed in the media who are found to have breached any law or code of conduct applicable to them”, according to the constitution.

 

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