With national elections looming next year, the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) says the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) should allow journalists to vote early - that is, before polling day- as diplomats and state security personnel already do.
ZUJ Secretary General, Foster Dongozi, tells VOA that journalists, like all citizens, want to participate in democratic processes, including elections.
He says if journalists are not allowed to vote early, many will be disenfranchised, as many will be working outside their constituencies on election day.
Dongozi said JUZ discussions with ZEC so far indicate that the commission is willing to listen to their concerns.
However, Dongozi says, early voting is not the only issue for journalists. Another issue includes accreditation.
According to the country’s electoral laws, only journalists accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) must also be accredited with ZEC in order to cover elections. Dongozi says ZUJ believes this is not necessary.
He said foreign journalists are discouraged from coming to cover elections in Zimbabwe as they are required to get ZMC accreditation before being accredited by the electoral commission, but says they cannot get accredited by ZEC if they do not have ZMC accreditation.
ZUJ says it has approximately 1,000 members. ZMC says it accredited more than 500 journalists in 2011.
Report by Irwin Chifera