A media credibility index compiled by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) shows the Voice of America’s Studio 7 is among the top media outlets that provide the most trustworthy news in Zimbabwe.
Presenting the findings of the credibility index compiled after a three-month survey of 11 media outlets, MMPZ programs officer, Sibusisiwe Dube, said the electronic media carried the most credible news with an overall credibility rate of 97 percent.
Surveyed media outlets in the electronic category were Studio 7, Star FM, Zi FM and Zimbabwe Television and SW Radio Africa. Studio 7 and ZiFM came out tops having carried the most credible stories between April and June this year. The index shows that all the 98 stories carried by Studio 7 during the survey period were credible.
The three daily newspapers surveyed, The Herald, The Daily News and Newsday, achieved an aggregate credibility standing of 94 percent. Individually, The Daily News scored 99 percent credibility rate for stories it carried during the period, Newsday 98 percent and the state-controlled Herald newspaper 86 percent respectively.
The index says The Herald carried the highest number of untrustworthy stories during the period under review.
Weekly newspapers got an aggregate credibility rate of 96 percent with the Standard singled out as the most professional in terms of journalistic practice.
The surveyed media collectively carried 1,036 stories in the three-month period and of these 993 were credible.
Other key findings of the survey are that Studio 7 stories were exclusively based on named sources while the Herald had the highest number of stories with unnamed sources followed by ZiFM and the Zimbabwe Independent.
The MMPZ said during the period under review, the public or state-controlled media carried the most undependable news with a combined credibility rating of 88 percent, 11 percent lower than the aggregate 99 percent achieved by the private media.
The media monitoring group said common weaknesses in monitored stories included misrepresentations, lack of balance, fairness and downright manipulation of facts to further particular interests.
Thabani Nyoni, spokesman for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said it’s true that most Zimbabweans listen to VOA Studio 7 for balanced news.
He said state-media are unpopular because they promote Zanu PF interests.
But Zanu PF activist Morris Ngwenya disagreed, saying state-controlled media are the most credible sources of news and information in the country.