Problem or Resource? The Role of the Media in the Apostolic Faith Mission Zimbabwe Crisis
Adopting the conceptual and logical analysis method, this study focuses on the political and legal battles within the Apostolic Faith Mission of Zimbabwe (AFMZ) and how the media in Zimbabwe has reported the stories. While genuine and legitimate reasons for the conflict exist, the study seeks to establish whether the media has wittingly or unwittingly fuelled the division or was it the belligerents thrusting their stories into the laps of the media and casting them in a certain light. The general hypothesis of the study is that the media plays a role in the generation and escalation of religious-related conflicts. Whist conflict is common in every society; it is the violence that often accompany it that is cause for concern. In the case of religious conflict, it becomes artificial if it is fanned by the media or other external factors. Ultimately this discussion seeks to establish the ideal role of the media in mediating ethics, religion and politics in society and whether this is in line with their mandate. To achieve its objective, the paper selects some stories about the split of the AFMZ Church as reported in the print media, specifically Newsday and Bulawayo 24 and analyses them for whether or not the reporting follows the sound ethics of journalism and responsible reporting. It concludes with calls for rejuvenated efforts to reinforce media ethics and the reporting of Church related issues in Zimbabwe and the surrounding countries.