LOCAL television viewers have hailed recommendations made in the KPMG Chartered Accountants forensic audit report presented to Parliament recommending the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to scrap off viewers and listeners’ licences and replace them with subscription fees.
BY ENTERTAINMENT REPORTER
The audit report noted that the State broadcaster had a potential to generate $15 million annually, up from the current $5,7 million raked in through licences.
Thousands of listeners and viewers have resisted paying the licences in protest against poor quality programming particularly following the advent of digital satellite television through which they can access high quality programmes from as little as $10 per month.
In October 2013, Harare West MP Jessie Majome (MDC-T) filed a Constitutional Court application to force ZBC to encrypt its signal so that it will only be received by those who wished to access the broadcaster’s programmes.
“It is a notorious fact in the public domain that ZBC is not impartial in its dealings particularly regarding the coverage of events, positions and programmes of political parties operation in Zimbabwe on its television and radio stations,” Majome said in her application.
Lloyd Kamujariwa of Cranborne told NewsDay in a snap survey that there was need to enhance quality in tandem with regional and international trends.
“ZBC needs improvements, especially the picture quality. You cannot compare it to other channels. They need to come up with competitive programming, particularly soapies, if they are to lure listeners and viewers,” he said.
Blessing Mpofu of Sunningdale concurred with Kamujariwa, saying there was need for variety and quality programming.
“For ZBC to make us pay subscriptions when there is no variety of programmes is an insult. Unless they improve their programming, many people will boycott paying licences,” she said.
Mavis Nhamoinesu: “This will be a good development for people since only those interested in the broadcaster’s programming will pay for the services compared to the current arrangement whereby people pay for possession of a radio or television set.
“There is need for new players in the industry to bring new channels that are worth celebrating if they are to bring new and diverse programming to the viewers.”
ZBC is struggling to raise income after being deserted by advertisers who feel Zimbabweans do not watch its programming due to poor quality and bias in favour of Zanu PF.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services minister Jonathan Moyo on Monday told the Parliamentary Committee on Media, Information and Broadcasting Services that ZBC was technically insolvent and was not in a position to pay for content for its television and radio services.