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Biti challenges Minister on ‘one man and his wife' dominating ZBC news daily

by Staff reporter
21 Jul 2022 at 06:47hrs | Views
CITIZENS Coalition for Change (CCC) Harare East Tendai Biti on Tuesday challenged the government on ZBC's compliance with the Constitutional obligation for impartiality and diversity of views in its news coverage, reminding the Zanu-PF administration that the broadcaster is funded by the public.

Biti was responding to a Ministerial statement by deputy information minister Kindness Paradza when he raised the long-standing opposition complaint that ZBC's news coverage only focuses on positive coverage of Zanu-PF and the government it leads.

In apparent reference to President Emmerson Mnangagwa and wife Auxilia dominating news and current affairs programming on ZBC, Biti quipped; "You see the same faces on ZBC at 8 o'clock every day.

"You see a man and his wife every day from 8 o'clock to 10 o'clock. There must be objectivity so that we see alternative voices, views and faces on ZBC."

He referred the deputy minister to Section 60 and 61 of the country's Constitution which, in part requires, ZBC to be "impartial; and afford fair opportunity for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinions."

The Constitution is also clear that State-owned media should be "free to determine independently the editorial content of their broadcasts or other communications."

Biti added; "ZBC is funded by taxpayers and taxpayers deserve to see everyone whether you are red, green or yellow, the current situation of subjectivity and of closure of other voices is unconstitutional and unnecessary. I thank you and seek clarification from Hon. Paradza."

The CCC deputy leader also hit out at the dominance of ZBC saying, "I seek clarification from the esteemed Minister, Hon. K. Paradza why 42 years after independence, we still have one broadcasting house, the ZBC.

"It is an eyesore and wherever we go, we are asked that question. Why can we not have air waves being liberalised so that there are multiple entrants in broadcasting?"

Deputy information minister Kindness Paradza

Responding, Paradza said did not address the issue of Mnangagwa and his wife dominating news bulletins "every day from 8 o'clock to 10 o'clock".

Instead, he said government has since licensed new television broadcasters and those not happy with ZBC could always switch channels.

"We have given licences to six competitors and two of those private owned national, commercial television stations are on air," he said.

"We have 3K TV, ZTN News which is on air and we also have another from East Africa which is already on the market here. That is why we have these media reforms and they are working.

"On top of the six national commercial radios and television stations, we also have given out licences to 14 community radio stations, 7 campus radio stations and these community radio stations are language based."

Challenged by Norton MP Temba Mliswa on the absence of balance in news coverage, Paradza said; "The good thing is that we now have a variety of outlets.

"If you are not happy with ZBC there is 3KTV, ZTN and there are online publications that is print media, there is electronic media."

He continued; "Hon. Mliswa, you want different views on ZBC, it is not only on ZBC, even in newspapers.

"No one is denied access to ZBC, as a journalist myself it is about the quality of the news, it is what we are calling newsworthy or not newsworthy that is the bottom line.

"So, if you are shouting and so forth, it is not news and you will not see yourself on television."

Source - NewZimbabwe
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