Govt told to end ZBC monopoly

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THE government should allow more players into the broadcasting sector to end the monopoly enjoyed by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which has resulted in poor programming by the State-controlled broadcaster, the Information and Media Inquiry Panel (IMPI) has heard.

TATENDA CHITAGU
OWN CORRESPONDENT

At its sitting to solicit public views on the state of the media at the Masvingo Civic Centre, IMPI, which is chaired by former Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota, heard more complaints about ZBC’s poor programming that has seen most local viewers turning to South African pay per view broadcaster DStv.

“By just looking at the satellite dishes in the residential areas, one can gauge the public perception of ZTV. We seem to be an extension of South Africa and kids know more of South African programmes than local ones because ZBC programmes are below standard and monotonous. They should improve on content,” a resident said.

Another resident went further and urged the government to immediately licence community radios.

“Allow more players not only for TV, but for radio as well. There are several community radios that are established, but are just waiting licensing from the government. We feel they are important as they will articulate local issues,” the resident said.

An artiste bemoaned the lack of airplay for musicians outside Harare by ZBC.

Nyarota said they would collate people’s views and write a report with recommendations to be submitted to the government.

“We are gathering people’s views in terms of what they are unhappy with in terms of information dissemination, access to information, content, media law reforms and conditions of service for journalists as well as training of media practitioners. The issues will be debated in Parliament,” he said.

Nyarota added that the recurrent theme in tours they held so far was that of media polarisation.

So far, IMPI has toured Mutare, Marondera and Rusape.

The next port of call would be Gweru.