Africa-Press – Zimbabwe. By Staff Reporter
MINISTER of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Ziyambi Ziyambi Thursday told Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) legislators that State-controlled media’s ‘biased’ coverage should no longer be a subject of scrutiny.
CCC Members of Parliament had raised objections to ZBC’s reports which they allege are partisan, during general elections.
This was part of their submissions to the Electoral Amendment Bill which is being combed through by the legislators.
CCC MPs said the bill should further bind State media to be impartial in the pre and post-election period.
Ziyambi however argued that ZBC, particularly, should not be subjected to laws but be allowed to operate freely.
“I also agree that the issue of ZBC being singled out to be impartial, we now have several media houses. I think that has fallen away because of technology and the times that we are in, it is not necessary to single out the State media during elections.
“There are several media houses and because of the advent of technology, there is no prejudice whatsoever. ZBC should be allowed to behave like any other media house according to their way of working. They should not be constrained to the rules set up by ZEC,” said Ziyambi.
According to the Electoral Act, ZBC and other public broadcasters and state-controlled media houses are mandated to give equal coverage to participating political parties.
However, State media has been at the receiving end of criticism in past elections after failing to align with the Electoral Act.
Last month, State media officials told a visiting SADC envoy that the opposition was shunning coverage.
Ziyambi’s response irked CCC legislators with Charlton Hwende saying State media owes the public fair coverage.
“On journalists, we are happy that you are also agreeing but the issue of ZBC, I do not understand your logic because the reason why ZBC is being singled out is because it is funded by taxpayers’ money.
“The reason why it is funded by taxpayers’ money is precisely for them to cover all political parties, kwete zvenyu zvamunoita zvekuti (not what you are saying that) ZBC is only covering ZANU PF. They are not covering all other political parties and so forth.”