The Media Monitoring Project (Zimbabwe) is an independent Trust that works to promote freedom of expression and responsible journalism in Zimbabwe. It aims to achieve this through monitoring and analysis of the news and current affairs output on domestic radio and television, and in the print media. Its findings are made public through the publication of weekly media reviews and other regular reports.
MMPZ started its operations in 1999 and became an independent Trust in its own right in March the following year. In addition to its weekly reports, MMPZ produces various reports on media coverage of current issues, especially elections. The Project monitors all news and current affairs output of the publicly owned media – the national broadcaster, ZBC, and the Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Ltd group, as well as the privately owned media. However, the publicly funded media remain the main focus of MMPZ’s attention since they are obliged to reflect all shades of opinion in Zimbabwe in addition to reporting issues fairly and accurately.
MMPZ is a member of a number of local civic organisations and collaborates with these and other human rights activist groups in lobbying regional and international bodies. MMPZ works with the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe (MAZ) - which brings together the Project, MISA-Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), among other media-related groups – to counter the continuing harrassment by the state of advocates for free expression and the independent media in a coordinated campaign to bring an end to these anti-democratic practices and open up Zimbabwe’s media envornment as envisaged by the Global Political Agreement signed by the countries three main political parties in September 2008.
MMPZ has established a Public Information Rights Forum (PIRF) outreach network comprising members of local community-based groups as part of its local advocacy campaign to promote civil liberties, particularly those relating to free expression and public information rights. MMPZ is a member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum – a coalition of local human rights defenders, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network that seeks to promote a culture of holding credible, democratic elections, and the Media Alliance. The Project’s collaboration with these and many other human rights groups extends to lobbying local policy-making institutions for laws and policies that protect and uphold the ideals of a true democratic culture, including a free and diverse media protected by a constituional guarantee of their right to exist.
- To monitor the media in Zimbabwe to determine how far they adhere to constitutionally and internationally guaranteed standards of freedom of expression, as well as generally accepted standards of ethical journalistic practice.
- To inform the public and relevant decision-makers about its findings and to conduct public information rights campaigns that help to foster and protect the ideals contained in Article XIX of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that seek to protect and promote freedom of expression and access to information. MMPZ is the only institution in Zimbabwe monitoring and analyzing the output of the domestic media on a regular basis and thus is able to provide a unique service to the public, the media community itself, and to all manner of media researchers and students within and outside Zimbabwe who make use of MMPZ’s updates and other research material.