Reporting on Zimbabwe’s 2018 Elections: A Post-Election Analysis

/Introduction

This report is a reflection of the performance of selected local media outlets in the 2018 elections. It presents findings on reporting trends that were observed in the run-up to the July 30 elections based on monitoring by Media Monitors from the day the election was proclaimed on May 31, to August 24 when the election result was announced after the Constitutional Court’s ruling that declared Emmerson Mnangagwa the winner of the presidential race. The study monitored the representation of political parties, candidates, government officials and the prevailing issues, as well as the professional conduct of the media in covering the electoral processes leading up to the election.

The main objective of this report is to assess the performance of a selected cross-section of Zimbabwe’s mainstream media in their coverage of the 2018 elections in order to create an evidence base on the quality of reporting observed in the local media. It is intended that this report will help inform future interventions on the nature of election reporting in the country.

The report also attempts to understand the media’s role in the election and whether:

  • They provided adequate and reliable information on the various electoral processes that took place during the electoral period.
  • The contesting political parties and candidates received fair and equitable coverage and were given enough time and space in the media to articulate their manifestos so that the electorate had sufficient information to make informed choices about who to vote for.
  • They monitored the administration of the election, to identify irregularities and violations that could tarnish the integrity of the election.

Media Monitors’ analysis was guided by national and international standards of professional and ethical journalism. In Zimbabwe obligations on the media and elections are contained in the national Constitution, the Electoral Act and statutory instruments that regulate the conduct of the media during elections.

Source: Media Monitors

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