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Zanu PF mulls TV station


WHILE the opposition MDC-T and other pro-democracy groups continue to wail about lack of coverage from State media, the ruling Zanu PF party is mulling the possibility of setting up its own television and radio stations to counter anti-establishment propaganda.


According to the ruling party’s central committee report presented by party leader President Emmerson for adoption at last week’s extraordinary congress, the Zanu PF information department has recommended the establishment of a media house.
“The party should seriously consider establishing its own radio and television stations to mitigate against an increasingly hostile independent media,” the report read.

“The party should urge government to accelerate the establishment of community radio stations across the country’s provinces. This strategy will provide an additional platform for the party to involve the communities in national and other political developments.”

Under former President Robert Mugabe, the Zanu PF government consistently denied independent operators television broadcast licenses and efforts to set up community radio stations were stifled by government and the party.

The opposition continues to complain about unfair coverage by the State media, arguing even under new President Mnangagwa, pro-democracy voices continue to be shut out.

“The MDC is thoroughly unimpressed with the half-hearted commitment that the Mnangagwa administration has so far shown towards opening up the State-owned print and electronic media. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) radio stations and the sole television station remain virtually closed to all other political parties except the ruling Zanu PF party,” MDC-T spokesperson Obert Gutu said in a statement in response to Mnangagwa’s State of the Nation Address early this week.

“Surely, it doesn’t take much effort in simply instructing the powers that be at the ZBC to ensure that they give access to other political parties and not just to the ruling party. As it is, the ZBC is continuing with its usual biased and one-sided coverage in favour of the ruling party,”

National broadcaster ZBC has consistently spewed pro-Zanu PF propaganda and negative reports on the opposition.

The central committee also urged Zanu PF to adopt information communication technologies in the fight for political space.

“The department advocates for complete refurbishment of the media centre to become a fully-fledged media house. The facility should be equipped with high-tech digital apparatus and an independent sever,” the ruling party report said.

“Ancillary equipment such as satellite decorders should also be installed to broadcast international news that will, in turn, enhance media monitoring capabilities. The centre should also be upgraded to serve as the think-tank in the development of ICT policy
and skills.

“Cyber space is the future battlefield of political activities including election campaigns. In essence ICT has of late been and shall remain an integral component of the department’s first line defence for the party. The department will ensure coordinated utilisation of electronic media tools such as website, Twitter, YouTube and live streaming.”

Zanu PF had its website hacked early this year while efforts by Mugabe to rein in errant officials washing dirty linen in public during the succession battle fell on deaf ears with former Higher Education minister Jonathan Moyo at the time the chief culprit.

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