ZBC response contemptuous

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THE response by the mandarins at Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to the public outcry over the grotesque airtime being given to First Lady Grace Mugabe’s Zanu PF campaigns was contemptuous.

ZBC has come under a barrage of attacks from viewers for the overkill in its coverage of Grace’s rallies that have taken her to seven provinces so far.

This would be in addition to the endless minutes given to her during radio and television bulletins throughout the day.

ZBC editor-in-chief Tazzen Mandizvidza this week hit back at the broadcaster’s critics saying the coverage was justified because they wanted the public to “hear for themselves” the full message from the First Lady.

Mandizvidza said ZBC was unapologetic about the coverage of the rallies, claiming everyone was interested in Grace’s story.

ZBC obviously sees nothing amiss about Grace’s hate speech, which has been the hallmark of her campaign as she targets a Zanu PF faction she believes is no longer happy with her husband’s leadership.

In the futile defence, Mandizvidza displayed his ignorance of the role ZBC is supposed to play as a public broadcaster when he sought to compare their coverage of Grace’s rallies to the way BBC and CNN would cover a running story.

He sounded more like a Zanu PF apologist when he launched a tirade against the private media, accusing it of having an agenda against the First Lady.

For the benefit of ZBC, it has to be stated that Grace is not an elected official and it is not the mandate of the public broadcaster to act as an extension of the ruling party.

Those who have criticised the excessive coverage of Grace’s rallies point to the fact that ZBC is now being used to push the agenda of a faction of Zanu PF in the battle to succeed President Robert Mugabe.

ZBC has no business comparing itself to the private media because it feeds off tax payers and has a completely different mandate.

Those in charge of the broadcaster need to learn this faster. Taxpayers would not sit back and fold hands while their taxes are being abused.

The ZBC management should learn to respect citizens who pay licences and taxes that sustain the corporation.