UNESCO builds capacity of Zimbabwean media in election reporting 

Source: UNESCO builds capacity of Zimbabwean media in election reporting | UNESCO

Tawanda Makawa/UNESCO ROSAAll rights reserved

 

Zimbabwe holds elections to choose a new President, Members of Parliament and Councilors every five years. On 23 August, 2023 the country goes for their next poll. Tension is high and reporting by the media is the centre of focus. Social media has emerged a key avenue in sharing news on almost anything, elections included. The UN family, UNESCO included, are helping to capacitate the media on ethical and objective reporting.

Zimbabwe goes to the poll to select the country’s next President, legislators and councillors on 23 August. Social media is awash with commentaries, news pieces and illustrations about the main incumbents vying for positions in the next government.  Not to be ignored are news outlets, whose mandate of informing, entertaining and educating the public have been taken over mostly by social media, especially during the electioneering period.

Let’s all make social media an ethical space and a place to be before, during and after elections
Antonio Terence – a Mass Communication lecturer at the Harare Polytechnic in the capital city

Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp are some of the dominant social media platforms used by the majority of Zimbabweans to churn out political and election messages. The proliferation of social media use is heightened by increased Internet accessibility and a global rise in technology use and falling cellphone prices. China, Dubai and South Africa are key markets of technology devices for Zimbabweans. According to DataReportal, data from GSMA Intelligence shows that there were 14.08 million cellular mobile connections in Zimbabwe at the start of 2023.

With less than a week to go before the watertight election, hate speech, disinformation and misinformation are on a rise in Zimbabwe. Readers must verify and triangulate sources of news just to verify their authenticity. Thanks to Factcheck, a news verification organisation that validates the factual accuracy of questioned reporting and statements. Given the high number of election messages originating on social media from numerous sources, the majority of whom are not journalists, fact checking is helping to set true records of news items reported on social media.

Good journalism entails giving accurate and verified news to the public for better decision making
Cris ChinakaEditor in Chief at Factcheck in Zimbabwe

Receiving accurate news accounts around election time is important to voters and is an avenue for peace and peaceful elections.

The media is key in shaping peace during the 2023 elections. As UNESCO we supported the production of the elections reporting manual distributed by the Zimbabwe Media Commission. Let’s follow guidelines stipulated in it. Let’s advocate for peace and non-violence to colleagues and the public
Al Amin YusuphUNESCO ROSA’s Communication and Information Advisor

UNESCO ROSA in partnership with the Zimbabwe Media Commission are implementing the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Capacity Building Project Phase 2 (ZIM ECO 2) in collaboration with UN Women and UNDP Zimbabwe funded by the EU, French Embassy in Zimbabwe and the Japanese Embassy seeking to strengthen media capacity for independent, inclusive and responsible election reporting through ethical and peaceful election reporting, addressing disinformation and hate speech on media platforms and strengthening synergies for elections media monitoring.

The project has so far reached over 300 journalists and media organisations with trainings on election reporting helping them to better understand and appreciate electoral issues. The Zimbabwe Media Commission, a key partner in the project aims to capacitate 1000 journalists in election reporting during the life of the project.

Election Reporting Training in Zimbabwe

UNESCO is leading the capacity building of the media on ethical and peace election reporting as the country heads to a watertight election on 23 August, 2023
16
SGD Contributed to

ZIMECO2 contributes to SDG 16

1000
Journalists targeted for training
Key UN partners

UNESCO UNDP UNWomen

Our priorities for media coverage of elections are on in-depth coverage of electoral processes, electoral times linked to the electoral cycle, stories that talk about the Zimbabwean situation and use of language that promotes peace
Mr Richard NgurungaDeputy Director for Public Relations with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission

ZIMECO2 Project Contact Details

For more information about the ZIMECO2 project you can get in touch with Al Amin Yusuph, the UNESCO ROSA Communication and Information Advisor on a.yusuph@unesco.org

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