THE Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) yesterday urged political parties and other stakeholders to respect journalists as they conduct their election-related duties.

Addressing journalists during a media and elections training workshop in Harare, ZMC commissioner Miriam Tose Majome also urged media practitioners to be professional.

“The commission is also interested in enhancing the security of journalists during the election period. The only way we can defend and enhance our profession is by sticking to the cardinal principles of the profession,” Majome said.

“We, therefore, call upon stakeholders to respect the profession, allow journalists to work without undue hindrances. Similarly, we call upon our media players to conduct themselves professionally.”

ZMC procured Press jackets for media practitioners for their safety while covering next week’s harmonised elections.

“ZMC is particularly interested in seeing a professional and responsible media that promotes free flow of information and content and enables our citizens to make informed decisions. The profession is a science based on facts. This being the case, we call upon all to respect the sanctity of facts,” she said.

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“This is not the time for agenda-driven journalism, fake news, misinformation, disinformation and other examples of poor journalism that have no place in a functional democracy. Hate speech is abhorrent and cannot be acceptable.”

ZMC is part of the Media Monitoring Committee chaired by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission.

The commission also launched an Elections Reporting and Peace Journalism Manual during the workshop.

Majome said the development of the manual came after the realisation of knowledge gaps by media practitioners in covering the election story, particularly issues to do with the electoral process and the attendant legal provisions.

“Among other issues, the manual deals with peace reporting, violence and conflict resolution, the safety of journalists, elections and women and youths, and the conduct of the media when covering political activities.”

ZMC is holding workshops with journalists across the country with the support of Unesco.