ZIMBABWE Media Commission (ZMC) chief executive officer Tafataona Mahoso yesterday said lack of funding had stifled the commission’s programmes, adding that the government was also failing to adequately pay commissioners.
BY SENIOR PARLIAMENTARY REPORTER
Mahoso told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services chaired by Zanu PF Umzingwane MP William Dewa that ZMC commissioners were paid a meagre $395 per month, while other constitutional requirements like paying their domestic workers and funding their fuel expenses were not being met by the government.
“After elevating the commission from the Media Information Commission (MIC) which had seven members to ZMC which has nine members and 13 members serving under the Media Council, funding has been inferior compared to what the former MIC enjoyed,” Mahoso said.
“All commissioners are entitled to sitting allowances, travel and subsistence, fuel allocations, salaries and payments of their domestic workers, but these conditions are on paper and have not been recognised by Treasury as what used to happen with the MIC.”
Mahoso said the Media Council had failed to monitor various media houses for any breaches of journalism ethics due to underfunding.
According to Mahoso, ZMC bid for $2 million, but received a paltry $448 000.
Meanwhile, Kingstons acting chief executive officer Kiitu Zawanda also told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services that her organisation was planning to operate an edutainment radio station KE 100.4 FM which would broadcast radio lessons for students and programmes to teach Zimbabwe about the government’s blueprint economic policy document ZimAsset and the new Constitution.
She said they had also applied for another radio station Nyaminyami FM to run tourism programmes.
The firm is currently reeling under a $5 million debt and is struggling to stock its 20 bookshops dotted around the country.
Mabvuku-Tafara MDC-T MP James Maridadi questioned why Kingstons wanted to venture into radio when it did not have a substantive board and CEO and were failing to run its core business of textbook sales.
But Zawanda defended the project, saying a local bank had shown interest in financing the proposed radio stations.