Media watchdog accuses Zim’s state broadcaster of bias ahead of polls

Zimbabwe’s branch of MISA says the ZBC is violating the country’s constitution by giving far greater and more positive coverage to the ruling ZANU-PF.

 FILE: ZANU PF supporters wait behind the Zimbabwean national flag in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe, 26 June 2008. Picture: EPA/STR

HARARE - With elections in Zimbabwe just two months away, a media watchdog has accused the state broadcaster of biased political reporting.

Zimbabwe’s branch of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is violating the constitution by giving far greater and more positive coverage to the ruling ZANU-PF.

MISA says Zimbabwe is already in election mode with posters up, manifestos being launched and campaign rallies underway.

It says the ruling ZANU-PF is getting the most coverage from the ZBC and state-run newspapers, and opposition parties are more likely to be portrayed negatively.

But in a letter to the electoral commission, the institute says Zimbabwe’s constitution requires tax-funded media outlets like the ZBC to present divergent views and dissenting opinions.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said that by law it can only intervene on media issues once an election date has been declared, and that hasn't happened yet.

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)