Michael Magoronga Midlands Correspondent
The European Union Observer Mission team met with Kwekwe journalists and politicians during a breakfast meeting to assess the coverage of political parties ahead of the July 30 elections. The breakfast meeting held last Thursday was organised by Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (ZINEF).
It saw senior journalists and politicians meeting with the EU team of Ladisalve Prochazka and Astrid Nunez to discuss media coverage ahead of the election.
During the meeting, political parties agreed that the new political dispensation had brought about a positive change, which had resulted in a fair treatment of political parties by the media.
MDC Alliance Kwekwe Central aspiring candidate Mr Blessing Chebundo admitted that there has been positive change on how the media was operating compared to the 2013 election.
“Of course, there are notable changes in the way the media are reporting ahead of the July elections as compared to 2013. We should give the devil his dues, the new political dispensation has brought about some notable changes,” said Mr Chebundo.
He urged journalists to maintain the positive trajectory, which he said may bring about desired unity and peace ahead of the harmonised plebiscite.
“It was a taboo to see an opposition leader being covered by ZTV during the Mugabe era. But all that has gone, recently our President Nelson Chamisa launched his campaign live on ZTV, which is a plus,” he said.
Independent candidate for Redcliff, 24-year-old Innocent Mharadze challenged journalists to cover independent candidates, which he feels are being left out.
“Inasmuch as there is a change, I feel we are being shut out. The media -both private and public – should also cover us, the independent candidates,” he said.
ZINEF national coordinator Mr Njabulo Ncube said Kwekwe had chosen to host the meeting as it has the highest number of community newspapers in the country.
“Kwekwe is both a political and media hotbed as it has the highest number of community newspapers in the country. We are, however, going to conduct such meetings in other places like Gweru, Masvingo, Mutare, Chinhoyi and Harare where we capacitate editors to report in a more comprehensive and inclusive manner and restore the credibility of the media in Zimbabwe,” said Mr Ncube.