MISA challenges Media Monitoring Committee constitution

The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has filed an urgent chamber application to the High Court in Harare challenging the constitution of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) led Media Monitoring Committee.

MISA Zimbabwe cited in a statement that it was within ZEC’s mandate to monitor elections but the electoral body did not have neither the resources nor the capacity to monitor this election’s media coverage.

“In terms of section 160K of the Electoral Act, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), has a mandate to monitor media coverage during the electoral period. It is MISA Zimbabwe’s submission that ZEC does not have the resources or the capacity to effectively monitor media during this year’s elections. This incapacity is because ZEC is grossly underfunded and lacks the technical capacity to monitor media coverage,” reads the statement.

MISA Zimbabwe also highlighted that the bodies which ZEC had been mandated to work with namely the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) were unable to fulfil their obligation.

“ZEC has chosen to partner with ZMC and BAZ, but this too is problematic, as the two bodies do not have the capacity. In addition, neither of the two organisations has a board in place. This means both bodies are therefore, not legally constituted, and cannot be valid members of the Media Monitoring Committee,

“In light of the above MISA Zimbabwe seeks an order that will compel ZEC to institute processes that lead to the proper constitution of the Media Monitoring Committee,” continues the statement.

MISA Zimbabwe also stipulated that ZEC should collaborate with other civic organisations to effect media monitoring.

Reads the statement: “It is MISA Zimbabwe’s submission that it is in the interests of a healthy media environment for ZEC to collaborate with other civil society organisations that do have the resources and technical capacity to successfully monitor media coverage during this electoral period.”

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