The article examines how the media is exploited for political leverage in Zimbabwe. Being interpretive in approach, qualitative methodology was preferred where key informant interviews and secondary sources were employed. Research findings indicate that a comprehensive understanding of the interaction between the internal and external political environment is critical in accounting for the existence of the unfavourable media frameworks. This is contrary to pervasive perceptions in existing literature which attribute the problem solely to internal political dynamics. The major conclusion is that the slow pace of media reform under the inclusive government is motivated by both necessity and logic as the political elites in power since independence are seeking survival against a formidable tide of internal and external political antagonism.