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Residents want more TV
Chronicle Online

Residents want more TV stations
GWERU residents have called on the government to bring in more players in television broadcasting and curb the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation monopoly. The residents said the coming on board of more players in the television broadcasting industry will improve the quality of programming through competition.

“There is need to improve the quality of broadcasting through licensing of more television stations so that people can watch television stations of their choice. At the moment the monopoly which is being enjoyed by ZBC is unhealthy and has resulted in poor programming by the national broadcaster. We have resorted to buying satellite dishes so that we can watch programmes that we enjoy,” said one resident.

Another resident said the prevailing environment had resulted in journalists from other countries benefiting from the monopoly of ZBC since locals would set up television stations in foreign lands after failing to get licences locally. The resident said the foreign based broadcasting companies owned by locals were using the free to air satellite facility.

Said the resident: “Some Zimbabweans are now setting up television stations outside the country creating employment for foreign journalists. Our own journalists and other professionals are losing out to foreigners.”

Information and Media Public Inquiry (IMPI) chairman Geoff Nyarota said the Gweru gathering, which was attended by over 100 people registered the biggest crowd for their meetings so far.

Journalists who attended the event called on government to decriminalise journalism through the repealing of pieces of legislation such as Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act and sections of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.

The media practitioners also called on government to ensure that the media sets up its own regulatory board which among other things solves disputes emanating from published or broadcast stories by the media outlets. The IMPI panel is holding outreach meetings nationwide to assess the state of the information and media industry in the country. Nyarota had told residents to freely express their opinions; highlighting areas they wanted government to address in order to improve media operations in Zimbabwe.

Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services, Professor Jonathan Moyo, last year said new players in television broadcasting will be awarded licences. The migration from analogue to digital broadcasting to take effect in the next few months would create room for more broadcasters.

The government has already begun liberalising the airwaves to new players through the awarding of licences to two radio stations — Star FM, a subsidiary of Zimpapers and AB Communications’ ZiFM Stereo.

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