BY OBERT SIAMILANDU
ZIMBABWE’s fringe political parties have bemoaned unequal media coverage during elections, saying this had dented the country’s democracy records and must not happen during the forthcoming 2023 elections.
New Patriotic Front party president Welcome Shumba made the call on behalf of other fringe parties on the sidelines of a workshop on gender issues organised by the Zimbabwe Gender Commission with members of the Political Actors Dialogue (Polad) in Kariba on Sunday.
In the past, opposition political parties have complained of being denied access to State media.
Shumba told NewsDay that during elections, opposition parties were often denied access to both State print and electronic media.
“The country’s main political parties, Zanu PF and the opposition MDC, got more coverage during the 2018 elections as they are perceived to be the biggest parties, while other smaller political parties were ignored,” he said.
“I feel that the media is neglecting important issues raised by the smaller political parties, and this has a negative bearing on national development. The media must advance the interests of all contesting political parties during elections. This is not good for democracy.”
Shumba said while Polad was made up of smaller political parties, they were the ones that were actually working with government to contribute to economic development and were engaging in dialogue in a bid to solve the country’s problems.
“Right now, Sadc and the United States have started to recognise that Polad is a very good initiative in trying to resolve our differences in the country,”he said.
“I think the media must take a step towards promoting equality with regards to coverage of all political parties during elections.”
A 2018 report by Media Monitors noted that political polarisation affected the media’s capacity to be fair and balanced.