Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Wednesday said the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board would be reconstituted while condemning the short-listing of those already controlling the print media for issuance of radio licences.
This was in apparent reference to the government-controlled publishing house, Zimpapers. Zimpapers are the publishers of The Herald, The Sunday Mail, Chronicle, Manica Post, Sunday News, H Metro and B Hetro and Kwayedza among a host of other publications including magazines.
“We cannot have a situation in which the same people who are controlling the print media want again to go into radio,” Tsvangirai said during the inagural Prime Minister’s Question and Answer Session. Zimpapers, AB Communications, Hot Media and Vox Media Productions have since been shortlisted for radio licences.
Responding to a question from Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese (MDC-T), who wanted to know when agreed media reforms would be implemented, Tsvangirai said the principals had agreed to reconstitute the BAZ board and had directed the Minister of Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, to do so. As part of the election roadmap, GPA negotiators agreed that the BAZ and Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings boards should be reconstituted.
“I want to assure you that myself, His Excellency the President and Honourable (Deputy Prime Minister Arthur) Mutambara, one of the critical interventions that we are looking at and that we have directed the Minister of Information to do is . . . that the broadcasting authority must be rectified, the board must be reconstituted,” he said. Tsvangirai yesterday also criticised the public media for continuing to peddle hate speech.
“If we were to pick The Herald, and Sunday Mail, one would be forgiven to think we are running two governments. Meanwhile, Tsvangirai said the government was bound by African Union resolutions and had therefore no choice, but to accept Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC). The AU took a position to recognise the NTC at the height of the Libyan revolution.
NTC fighters killed Colonel Muammar Gaddafi last Thursday after capturing him in a drainage pipe where he had been hiding.