As part of EISA's technical support to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), a two day workshop attended by 24 participants (7 of whom were women) was held on the 26 and 27 October training of editors from different print and electronic media houses in Zimbabwe. This is a follow up of a similar workshop held for journalists on from 26-28 September 2017.
The overall aim of the workshop was to build and maintain, within the media fraternity, confidence and trust in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission processes in general and in its mandate of conducting and managing electoral processes in Zimbabwe.The workshop also contributed to building improved working relations between the ZEC and the media fraternity; ensure that media reports are based on accurate information that will be regularly provided by ZEC; enhance the skills of journalists in election reporting including the understanding of electoral technicalities and the legal framework guiding the Commission; give them an overview of what BVR entails; encourage adherence to journalistic ethics with intention of providing voters accurate information relevant to various steps of the electoral ;encourage objectivity and responsible journalism among the media and sensitize the journalists on the role of gender in elections so that they report on elections based on gender disaggregation data as well as reporting on participation of youth and other marginalized groups.
The training was held at the Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration and Management (ZIPAM).
In support to Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on stakeholder engagements during the 2018 electoral processes, EISA supported training for public and private media on election reporting at ZIPAM in Darwendale, Mashonaland West. The workshop was attended by 40 participants drawn from media houses, ZED and EISA. The content provided media practitioners with an overview of the Electoral Legal Framework governing ZEC's mandate, including the electoral cycle and processes, electoral regulations and Biometric Voter Registration as provided for in the law. The workshop also contributed to establishing a common understanding of how election related issues should be covered, ensuring media personnel understand electoral technicalities and encouraging objectivity and responsible reporting. Participants agreed on closer cooperation between the media and the ZEC reflected in the invitation to ZEC by the Capital-FM to utilize airtime on its newly opened radio station for voter education outreach programmes.
The following media houses attended: The Herald; Hevoi-Fm; Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation; Daily News; Zimbabwe Media Commission; Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe; Newsday; YA-Fm; SkyzMetro-Fm; Sunday Mail; TellZim News; Tue Sun; Dimaond-FM; Patriot; NewZiana; Star-Fm; The Mirror; Weekly Gazette; Captal-Fm; ZI-FMSterio and ANG.
EISA supported the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), Faculty of Arts symposium on "Media and Elections Reporting". The symposium was the inaugural dialogue event of the Faculty of Arts' new programme on Journalism and Media Studies focusing on the 2018 rmonised elections. The symposium focused on the electoral processes in general and the regulation and role of the media in election reporting in particular. Participants were drawn from print and electronic media houses in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, academia, civil society organisations, the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and thediplomatic community.
Attended by 138 participant, (52 women and 86 ment, the symposium was a huge success as it provided a platform for robust engagement on the subject matter and set in motion a dialogue process around the media and elections in preparation of the 2018 harmonised elections.
EISA AND ZEC-EISA conducted a two day intensive training workshop on election reporting for the public and private media on 30th to 31st October 2012. A total of 45 participants consisting of 39 males and 6 females were drawn from the print and electronic media. These included the Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) Alpha Media Holdings; the Financial Gazette; Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, which runs four radio and two television stations. Freelance journalists were also invited to participate at the workshop.
The journalists' skills in reporting on the pre-election, polling and post-election phases of the electoral process were sharpened through this workshop. The journalists were also introduced to international instruments pertaining to the regulation of the role of the media in elections as well as to media ethics by Mr. Blessing Jonah, a media expert from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and two internationally renowned media experts. These were Dr. Raymond Louw who holds many positions in South Africa including Deputy Chairman of the Media Freedom Committee of the South African National Editors' Forum, Vice President of PEN South Africa, Chairman of Misa- SA, Council Member of the Freedom of Expression Institute of SA and Chairman of the SA Press Council and Dr. Joe Thloloe who is South Africa's Press Ombudsman. In addition, ZEC used the opportunity to update workshop participants on the contents of the Electoral Amendment Act 2012 which came into effect recently.
On 20 July 2012 EISA held a successful roundtable table between the Executives and Editors of all media houses in Zimbabwe at the ZEC Head office. The meeting was also attended by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). This was the first meeting of this kind and it has contributed positively to the building of strong relationships between the media and ZEC. The meeting looked into among other questions: (a) What is the role of the Media in a polarised political environment such as in Zimbabwe? (b) How can the media balance between its duty to inform and its business interests? Put otherwise, what needs to be done to ensure that the Media fulfils its mandate and complies with media ethics instead of focusing on "headline driven news" in pursuance of profits?
Following discussions on the role of the media in elections and the identification of problematic areas in this regard, concrete proposals were tabled and agreed on. For example:
ZEC has also been invited by the Zim papers to utilised airtime on its newly opened radio station for voter education. There will be a meeting on how this is to be done including the frequency of the programmes ZEC may come up with.