AS Zimbabwe heads towards the 2023 elections, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe has launched an alert button to prioritise the safety of journalists as temperatures heat up. While there were no reported cases of physical attacks against media practitioners ahead of the March 26 by-elections, there are fears over their safety to ensure access to election related information. “We realize that media practitioners always collect, or always have in custody critical information that is part of their news, part of dissemination but also information that they get from their sources hence the issue of confidentiality is very important about the protection of their devices and the protection of their documents,” MISA- Zimbabwe Legal ICT Policy Ocer Nompilo Simanje said.
During elections, journalists frequently cover rallies, campaign events, and protests which can increase their risk of being attacked, harassed, and detained. Journalists may be required to report in areas or communities that are hostile to the media or outsiders. This can happen if a community perceives that the media does not fairly represent them or portrays them in a negative light.