ZANU PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa, has said his party does not understand what the MDC formations mean by media reforms when there are a lot of private newspapers, which support them.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Mutasa said all private newspapers were blatantly partisan towards the MDC parties, hence calls for media reforms by the two formations were unjustified.
“Zanu PF has never asked for media reforms. I am Zanu PF and the party does not know what the MDCs want or what they mean when they talk about media reforms,” he said.
“There are a lot of newspapers that are anti-Zanu PF. That is where the MDC parties should demand reform of the media.”
The MDCs argue that media reforms are necessary to provide equal opportunity to all political parties ahead of the elections in line with the new Constitution.
A power-sharing agreement signed in 2008 provides for the opening up of the media sector, particularly State media that faces accusations of partisanship towards Zanu PF.
Human rights activist and analyst, Joy Mabenge, said civil society organisations will condemn the electoral environment as not being free and fair if elections were held without mandated media reforms.
“It is common cause that the State media we have is blatantly partisan in favour of Zanu PF,” he said. “As civil society, we are saying the State broadcaster should give everybody and every political party a chance to be heard.
“Our position is in sync with what Sadc proclaimed, we need media reforms and if that does not happen before the election, our election reports will say that the environment was not conducive for a free and fair poll.”
The MDC parties and civic groups accuse Zanu PF of using the State broadcaster to entrench the party’s power through propaganda activities, as well as feeding misinformation and portraying the party as the only entity that can administer the affairs of the State.
ZBC regularly airs war documentaries, music videos and songs that praise Zanu PF.