Media and Elections
Credible and fair elections are an essential element of democratic societies. During electoral periods the media play a particularly vital role. They act as a watchdog, ensuring greater transparency and accountability during the election process, providing citizens with information on their candidates, party policies and the elections process, and enabling them to make informed decisions when they cast their votes or engage in public debate.
To play their role, the media need both access to information and the freedom to freely and safely communicate their findings. Media and electoral bodies, therefore, need to work together to recognise the roles and responsibilities of each party and to acknowledge the necessity and importance of each other’s roles in delivering fair elections.
MISA’s role in fair elections
MISA regularly convenes missions to observe the conduct of the media and electoral bodies during elections and MISA’s network of Chapters play an active role in monitoring freedom of expression violations in their respective countries during election periods. We have also advocated for governments to uphold journalists’ safety and rights to freedom of expression and access to information in their election reporting.
Elections are an essential tool in the development of democracy within a country, at which time the media plays a vital role as the communicative link between politicians and citizens. According to the terms of the Electoral Act, The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is the authority legally mandated to monitor media coverage for political parties during an election period.