Journos urged to give citizens voice in elections coverage

A SENIOR journalist has urged scribes to give ordinary citizens a voice, when covering elections, as their views are important in governance matters affecting them.

BY STEPHEN CHADENGA

Former assistant editor at Financial Gazette and senior sub-editor at the The Nation newspaper in Kenya, Cris Gumunyu said there was a tendency by journalists to focus on what the candidates promise the electorate, overlooking voters’ expectations.
“There is need to go to the ordinary person on the street and the marginalised to get their voice when covering elections,” Gumunyu said while addressing a media workshop in Kwekwe yesterday.

“You should draw from voters what they expect from the politicians, and it is that voice that matters in governance matters.”
Over the years the media has been criticised for not affording an opportunity to ordinary people to comment on issues that directly affect them.

Gumunyu said journalists covering elections should know the electoral laws in order to effectively cover the electoral process.

He, however, warned journalists not to be “loose cannons” when covering elections, as no story was “worth dying for”.
Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum co-ordinator Njabulo Ncube said: “The gist of these interactive meetings is how best to cover the 2018 elections,” Ncube said.

Journalists at the meeting discussed several issues including their own safety when covering elections, story angles particularly the human interest election story, diverse voices in stories particularly women, youth, people living with disabilities and the marginalised.

There was consensus on the need for hard-hitting and precise editorial comments on matters concerning elections.

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