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'Guidance' From Zimbabwe Electoral Commission Irritates Journalists

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has called meetings with state and private sector media organizations to offer what it calls “election guidelines," irritating journalists who see the ZEC initiative as condescending and intrusive in equal parts.

The commission has told journalists one of its responsibilities is to monitor whether the national media are even-handed in covering the election, therefore it is issuing instructions on how media should proceed with election coverage.

One editor with a private-sector publication said he and other editors met with staff of the commission last week, remarking that it seemed that the ZEC believed the media did not have adequate standards of its own for covering elections. He said that his publication provided the commission with a draft it hoped would be useful.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary General Foster Dongozi told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the country's journalists have covered many elections and he sees no need for guidance from the election commission.

More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...