Zimbabwe Government and Media
Government Type: Constitutional Democracy.
Leader: President Emmerson Mnangagwa (since 2017)
Political Party: The African National Union of Zimbabwe – Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF)
Political Position: Left Populist
World Press Freedom Rank: Zimbabwe 126/180
In 2020 Reporters Without Borders ranked Zimbabwe 126/180 in their Press Freedom Index, where they state “Page not yet turned on Mugabe era.” After coming to power following the 2018 elections, President Emmerson Mnangagwa promised to expand media freedom and implement media reforms such as the Zimbabwe Media Commission Bill, which intends to “enhance access to information.” Reporters Without Borders claims there are some improvements such as “Access to information has improved and self-censorship has declined.” However, when Mnangagwa was serving as national security minister under Former President Robert Mugabe, he was “notorious for suppressing dissent when he was national security minister and his first steps with regard to press freedom have been marked more by promises than concrete progress.”
Government Influence on Media: The Media of Zimbabwe is controlled by the government indirectly and directly. For example, print media such as “The Herald (Zimbabwe)” is controlled through Zimbabwe Newspapers Ltd (Zimpapers), which is funded through government advertising. The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act is commonly referred to as AIPPA and it is controversial due to giving power to The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), which critics state, would reduce media freedoms and rights.
Broadcast media, such as the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is the sole broadcaster and has a monopoly in the country. Furthermore, Radio is the main source of information in Zimbabwe and ZBC runs two TV and four radio stations. According to Zimfact.org, The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) has control over the licensing of radio and television stations, and the ruling ZANU-PF party has a great influence on BAZ. There are also several privately-owned media outlets that compete with state-controlled print media. In conclusion, The Zimbabwe Government has direct and indirect control and influence over the media outlets since most of them are either owned or financed by the government and influenced by the ruling political party.