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Review ZEC’s multi-million dollar advertising budget – CNAZ

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Review ZEC’s multi-million dollar advertising budget – CNAZ



MASVINGO – The Community Newspapers’ Association of Zimbabwe (CNAZ) has called on the Ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services to scrutinise the manner in which the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) allocated and used its multi-million dollar 2023 advertising budget.
CNAZ chairman, Matthew Takaona said this after ZEC cancelled 2023 adverts to all community newspapers.
He said ZEC runs an advertising budget of over US$15 million every harmonised election and the adverts are flighted on radio, TV, digital and print newspapers. In 2023 the electoral body cancelled adverts to all community newspapers without giving any reason.
Takaona, a former Commissioner with the Zimbabwe Media Commission said in a statement that recent reports in News Hawks of a local businessman receiving US$40 million from ZEC after allegedly inflating tenders by 265% have raised eyebrows.
“If this report is true, it points to corruption and abuse of office detrimental to many facets of the economy including the media sector,” said Takaona.
Election adverts have in the last two decades provided a critical lifeline to community newspapers following an arrangement by the Ministry of Information, the Zimbabwe Media Commission under the then CEO Tafataona Mahoso and ZEC to support the fledgling sector with revenue from the election body, said Takaona.
Income from election adverts enabled community newspapers to retool, recapitalise and expand their operations because it is quite substantial, he said.
The cancellation of adverts saw a large number of community newspapers folding, retrenching or scaling down operations, he added.
Takaona called on the Ministry of Information, ZMC, ZEC and media stakeholders to come together and come out with a clear, transparent, fair and progressive policy on the allocation of ZEC adverts.
He said the pillars of the State including the executive, judiciary and legislature can only be strong if the Fourth Estate is strong.
He called for the building of a strong media sector in Zimbabwe.

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