Media watchdogs bemoan excessive Grace coverage

via Media watchdogs bemoan excessive Grace coverage – DailyNews Live 13 October 2014 by Lloyd Mbiba

HARARE – Media organisations are crying foul over excessive coverage of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe on the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) stations saying government is abusing the State media.

Since the First Lady began her rallies, the media, especially the State broadcaster, has been awash with propaganda stories about her.

Media organisations feel the State media has sacrificed developmental issues in favour of the First Lady.

“It’s a complete abuse of the public broadcaster,” Nhlanhla Ngwenya, director of Misa Zimbabwe said.

Ngwenya said citizens should demand the liberalisation of the public media as stipulated by the new Constitution.

“What is sad is that Zimbabweans have simply watched successive Zanu PF governments brazenly seize their media and turn them into slavish party megaphones.

“It is time that Zimbabweans use the rights granted to them by the new constitution to demand the liberation of the public media from enslaving political shackles in order to restore their public service mandate and inculcate professional sanity at the media houses,” he said.

Loughty Dube, the director at Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) said the country is faced with economic issues that deserve more prominence that the first lady.

“The coverage of an individual will never cloud pressing national issues,” Dube said.

“I don’t think her rallies are so much of news that they can be given too much space during the state broadcaster’s news hour.

“It is unfair and clear abuse of power. We have more pressing economic issues that also need prominence. People do not have tap water, electricity and there is a liquidity crisis.”

Chairman of Zimbabwe National Editors Forum (Zinef) Brian Mangwende said the media should balance its coverage of issues.

“Although the first lady has every right to be covered by the media, we believe that other issues should be given equal access.

“As Zinef, we are not saying she should not be covered but the same prominence should be given to developmental issues,” said Mangwende.