The 2000 parliamentary election was the first Zimbabwean election in which the media situation gave the opposition against ZANU PF president Robert Mugabe a fair possibility to inform the voters about their politics. Radio and TV organised in ZBC was, to be sure, still controlled by ZANU PF, but toward the end of the 1990s a few newspapers opposed to the regime had been established. This paper will, based on my study of the 2000 election campaign (Waldahl 2004), discuss some of the political consequences of this new media situation. More specific I will address four questions: In which way did the new media situation influence the election campaign agenda? What did the media tell the voters about the two main opponents’ politics for the coming years? How did the media present the violent aspects of the election campaign? What picture did the media give of ZANU PF and MDC, and of their leading politicians? The paper will then conclude with a few general comments about the consequences of a competitive media situation for the conduct of a free and fair election.
Keywords: media politics, African democracy, election campaigns, Mugabe, Zimbabwean elections, political journalism
How to Cite:
Waldahl, R., (2017) “Political Journalism the Zimbabwean Way: Experiences from the 2000 Election Campaign”, Westminster Papers in Communication and Culture 2, p.18-32. doi: https://doi.org/10.16997/wpcc.39