of prosecution for criminal acts against media practitioners.

Political context and key events
In March 2022, Zimbabwe held by-elections which served as a test and measure on how far the
government has gone in securing a conducive media operating environment and compliance with
recommendations by election observer groups to the county’s 2018 elections.
The elections were held to fill 28 vacancies in National Assembly and 122 local authorities; hence
they were widely perceived as a preview of the general elections in 2023.
Concerning the 2018 elections, the African Union Observer Mission, among others, noted that
despite the existence of legal provisions that encouraged equitable access to the media and
balanced reporting of activities of political parties and candidates, both private and state-owned
media houses exhibited a degree of polarisation, with inequitable coverage of political parties and
The SADC Electoral Observer Mission made similar findings and noted that the public broadcaster
(ZBC) and the State-owned newspapers were in favour of one political party, contrary to the relevant
provisions of the Constitution, the Electoral Act, and the Revised SADC Principles and Guidelines
Governing Democratic Elections, which requires State-owned media to be impartial.
Similarly, the European Union Election Observer Mission (EU EOM), said election coverage in the
media was not pluralistic.
Following the findings and recommendations of the election observer mission, MISA Zimbabwe
and the Media Monitors on 13 April 2022 launched a report on how the media covered Zimbabwe’s
26 March 2022 by-elections.
The report, which was launched at a media professionalism workshop organised by MISA Zimbabwe
in Bulawayo, focused mainly on public media, as they have a constitutional duty to provide fair and
balanced news articles, particularly during elections.
The meeting was attended by the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services
officials led by the Permanent Secretary Nick Mangwana, Members of Parliament, and officials
from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.
Media advocacy organisations such as the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe National
Editors Forum and the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe also attended the meeting.
Permanent Secretary Mangwana said the government had since complied with recommendations
by election observer reports by licensing more broadcasters in Zimbabwe. He said the government
had licensed 14 community radio stations and six commercial television stations.
The Permanent Secretary said ZBC had done well in its coverage and the government was loathe
State of the Media Report    4

Select target paragraph3