Zimbabwe mulls introducing new television players

Simon Khaya Moyo

ACTING Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo has said Government is working on introducing new television players in a bid to break the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s monopoly.

ZBC has monopolised the television broadcasting industry for decades.

Addressing delegates at the official launch of the support to the media on governance and electoral matters in Zimbabwe programme in Harare on Thursday, Ambassador Khaya Moyo said opening up the broadcasting sector was an important step in a democracy.

He said media freedom, access to information and free expression were guaranteed by the Constitution.

“The issue of free, fair and credible elections is what every Zimbabwean should aim for,” said Ambassador Khaya Moyo. “Currently, Government through the Ministry of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services is spearheading the digital broadcasting migration programme which, slowly, but surely on account of limited resources, is gaining traction.

“Very soon we shall be witnessing real positive change in breaking ZBC monopoly over our airwaves as new television players come on board.

“And even before then, as soon as Government acquires set-top boxes, we should begin to roll out digital television services in areas that have proximity to digitalised transmitter sites.”

The launch saw the European Union and Norway releasing about $1 million towards supporting and capacitating the media in the country.

Ambassador Khaya Moyo said Government would support the media to ensure they did their work without hindrance.

“The hallmark of thriving democracies is the presence of an informed citizenry which participates in the national discourse through free expression,” he said. “The media, a free media for that matter, is a key element of democracy and development.

“There are other challenges that are of concern to the media industry such as the safety of journalists, political polarisation, partisan journalism, publishing falsehoods, and decline in training standards, gender discrimination and reports of rampant corruption in the sector, all of which deserve our attention.”

The European Union ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Philippe van Damme urged the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation to give equal access to all political parties in the country.

He said this should be synonymous with the events of November 18, which signified a new era of openness, tolerance and mutual respect as envisaged by President Mnangagwa.