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Zanu-PF influence in ZBC programming, coverage is a myth, claims Information ministry

by Staff reporter
13 Jul 2022 at 07:18hrs | Views
THE ministry of information has disputed claims the ruling Zanu-PF has a direct hand in programming at State broadcaster, ZBC, and said opposition parties invited by the institution do not respond positively.

Speaking at a disinformation workshop organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Tuesday, director of media services in the ministry, George Chisoko, said Zanu-PF had never at any point determined what was broadcast on TV or radio.

He was responding to a presentation by professor Admire Mare which touched on ZBC's coverage of political players.

"ZBC is not being instructed by Zanu-PF to stop opposition parties from being on TV or radio," said Chisoko.

"I can tell you that we asked ZBC to come up with a programme schedule where they would give everyone, including opposition parties, a slot to go on air and talk of what they are doing, but not many have been forthcoming, including Zanu-PF.

"We have programmes where Zanu-PF is invited but does not get anyone to come, the same happens with the opposition parties. For professor Mare to state categorically that the ruling party intervenes in operations at ZBC is not true, that has never happened.

"We have not even had a meeting with any Zanu-PF official telling us what state-owned media should do."

ZBC has over the years been accused of being a Zanu-PF propaganda mouthpiece by civic society, politicians and media experts who argue that the absence of a buffer between the state and its operations had impacted its independence.

Dominance of ruling party activities on the main news bulletin, broadcast at 8pm daily, was also cited as a reason why its audience viewed it as a Zanu-PF controlled platform.

"Some of these might just be perceptions, but on the other hand, when you watch the news for 30 minutes, you will just see that this is just reporting from the other side and not the other one," said Combined Harare Residents (CHRA) programmes officer, Reuben Akili.

"At hostels, people are mounting DStv and OpenView, and that is an indicator that ZBC has to change its programming.

"It is very important on ZBC's side to set the agenda for news that informs people and not that which is based on partisan lines."

In 2019, the High Court ruled ZBC, and sister company, Zimpapers, were not impartial ahead of 2018 general elections, in breach of the constitution.

Source - NewZimbabwe