Zimbabwe’s harmonised elections held in August 2023 were conducted in a drastically improved
media operating environment regarding journalists’ and media workers’ safety and security.
This is evidenced by the massive reduction in media freedom violations, which tend to spike during
the country’s election campaign seasons.

MISA Zimbabwe Way Forward Post-2023 Zimbabwe Elections

Historically, Zimbabwe’s elections have generally been marred by increased media freedom
violations, contributing to the country’s poor World Press Freedom Index rankings over the years.
These violations involve the unlawful arrests, assaults, and harassment of journalists by state and
non-state actors, such as supporters of political parties.
Such violations impede the media from freely fulfilling its mandate during elections, compromising
citizens’ ability to access information that enables them to make informed decisions and choices.
Hence, the safety and security of media workers is critical as citizens rely on unfettered media for
credible and verifiable information to participate in elections freely.
It is with that in mind that MISA Zimbabwe, in conjunction with key stakeholders, took various steps
and interventions to secure a conducive media operating environment ahead of Zimbabwe’s 2023
harmonised elections, resulting in the vastly improved safety and security environment for the
country’s journalists and media workers.
Several meetings were held with the police and political parties to secure a conducive media
operating environment ahead of the 2023 elections.
Further, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Media Commission and UNESCO Regional Office
Southern Africa, MISA engaged the media since the beginning of the year to re-commit to the ideals
of professionalism while covering elections. This was drawn from MISA’s experiences in the Lesotho
elections of 2022, where MISA Lesotho took leadership in mobilising the media to commit and
recommit to professionalism while covering the election.
Zimbabwe’s media, comprising state-owned, private and community media, campus radio stations
and freelance journalists, committed themselves to the highest ethical standards in the coverage of
the 2023 elections.


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