President Robert Mugabe still rules Zimbabwe at age 92, making him the world's oldest sitting president.

And while his party, the Zanu-PF, is in strife over who will come after him, the state media's dilemma is how to report the succession battles - with talking about Mugabe's succession being an editorial red line.

We do not run or organise matters of the party or settle our grievances through Twitter and Facebook, etcetera, whatever.

Robert Mugabe

State-owned news outlets such as The Herald newspaper and the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation remain loyal to Mugabe, but even they are backing one faction in the Zanu-PF - albeit indirectly - by attacking the other. 

Mugabe's message is clear: the media has no place in Zimbabwe's political future.

But with ripples from last year's anti-government protests still in the air and instability at an all-time high, the silenced social media campaigns and wary journalists make for a concerning overview of the coverage surrounding Mugabe's succession. 

An example of the uncomfortable relationship betwen the media and the government occurred in December 2016, when President Mugabe was seen struggling to leave the podium after a speech.  

"When the minister [of information] was asked about the president's health, he became very hostile; he asked the reporter who had sent him to ask those questions. This explains the kind of relationship that we have with the minister of information. They suspect that the private media is pushing a foreign agenda against the president," says Kholani Nyathi, editor at privately owned paper The Standard. 

But what does this mean for Mugabe's successor and how does this affect the Zimbabwean media story in the long term?

Contributors: Kholani Nyathi, editor, The Standard; Caesar Zvayi, editor, The Herald; Fadzayi Mahere, advocate; Munyaradzi Dodo, online activist, @OPENPARLYZW. 

Source: Al Jazeera