The national broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has applied to the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) for a National Commercial Digital Terrestrial (NCDT) license.
This however has not been an open call for more independent players to licence, but rather government clearly stated that its a prerogative for ZBC to open other channels on their reserved capacity.
The move has been received as nothing much of plurality without diversity as only state actors are extended acres of terrestrial space, yet private players continue to be blocked
Whilst the Government of Zimbabwe’s spokesperson wants us to believe they will end ZBC monopoly in broadcast by its recent application for a digital terrestrial license, critics say it murks dirty politicking to even mention it when it is the same ZBC that has been used for four decades to propagate Government’s continued hold on power.
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Information, Publicity, and Broadcasting Services, Nick Mangwana has commended the national broadcaster for the move, saying it will end the current ‘one television channel’ position.
Nothing can be further from the truth about ending the nations sole broadcaster monopoly on Media now seeking an official stranglehold on the digital front.Why not open up space for everyone else not ZBC?What really does the President’s spokesman have to say as this sounds like building castles in the air and there is nothing new from his statement.
— Nick Mangwana (@nickmangwana) April 12, 2021
“With this application by @ZBCNewsonline to run other channels on their reserved capacity, Zimbabwe is burying the “One Television Channel” epithet for good,” he says.Apparently, Zimbabwe has only one television station, run by the state.
So no Mr.Perm Sec ,Zimbabwe has not buried the one television channel mantra when you are giving the same station another license at the expense of others.
Last year, the Zimbabwean government under President Emmerson Mnangagwa awarded new television licenses that would end decades of monopoly by the only State-controlled broadcaster ZTV (ZBC TV).
However, experts fear it is merely a ploy for Mnangagwa to tighten his grip on power, as it was alleged all the applicants were linked to his government and the ruling party.An example is Channel Dzimbahwe to be led by Former ZBC Boss Group CEO Happyson Muchechetere and all former ZBC top management.
Then there is Bulawayo based Skyz Metro led by one Qubani Moyo, a Zimbabwe Electoral Commissioner board member appointed in that capacity by President Mnangagwa.
So now clearly ZBC is coming back through the back door which is not proper as everyone has a right to broadcast as long as it is done properly and not just those connected to the Zimbabwean government or Zanu Pf leadership.