THE Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) says it will soon introduce a security services channel as part of a cocktail of programmes planned for digital television broadcasting.
BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
ZBC chief executive officer, Patrick Mavhura told hundreds of content producers in Beitbridge at the weekend that the security channel will be introduced alongside other channels such as wildlife, our country and Africa, history movies and religion, as part of the State broadcaster’s expansion programme.
Mavhura was accompanying Media Information and Broadcasting Services ministry permanent secretary George Charamba and Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and Transmedia Holdings officials on a mission to identify content producers for ZBC, as the country migrates from analogue to digital broadcasting.
The project was started in 2015 under the Zimbabwe Digital Migration Project spearheaded by BAZ bankrolled by government.
Last Friday, BAZ took its campaign to Chiredzi and Beitbridge, but was conspicuously accompanied by only ZBC, at a time the country is yearning for liberalised airwaves.
“We will have a full spectrum channel to carry a variety of content and then news and current affairs, sports, music, tourism and nature channels initialy.
“We will increase our channels and hope to have a security services television channel, wildlife, history of our country and Africa among other channels,” Mavhura said, without giving details of the content of the proposed channel that is expected to flight programmes about the liberation struggle and other activities of the country’s security sector.
“I also think it will be a channel to drum up support for the current government,” a Beitbridge resident, who asked for anonymity, said.
The current establishment assumed office last November during Operation Restore Legacy, which dislodged former President Robert Mugabe accused of 37 years of misrule.
Mavhura asked close to 300 people gathered for an outreach programme to produce dramas, plays and urged artistes to create content for radio and television channels that will be in abundance.
“We will have six channels and that means plenty of content is required. This will create employment and many business oportunities,” he said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Charamba said Zimbabwe’s radio and television coverage will soon be scaled up from the current 55% to 85% to increase coverage in most outlying areas.
“It’s people in the outlying areas, who bore the brunt of and contributed in the war. Areas such as Beitbridge, that are not getting radio and television signals, plans to reach them are advanced,” he said, adding they had secured material for additional transmitters to expand radio and television reception.
“I will make sure of the $22 million we have, part of it will be used to upgrade transmitters at Beitbridge so they have all radio and television channels considering the position of the town as the face of the country and gateway to Africa from the South,” he said.
Charamba said the government was also negotiating with cellular operators so their transmitters could be used to help spread radio and television signals.
He said mobile phone transmitters will be used to boost radio and television signals in most remote parts of the country and arrangements with cellular service providers was underway.
Charamba said ZBC, should not expect people, who do not receive its signal, to pay radio licences.
“How do you expect them to pay when they don’t receive and do not see programming from their areas?” he asked.
Charamba challenged communities throughout Zimbabwe to promote their cultures by writing their own stories and showing them to the world.
“There are so many activities on the dry Limpopo or Vhembe, the world wants to know that story and it’s upon the people if Beitbridge to tell the world through the various television channels we seek to have now,” he said.
Charamba also ordered ZBC to take advantage of Beitbridge’s strategic location and open a bureau in the border town.
“People need to have live voices. It’s senseless to have them pay for licences to hear other communities and not themselves,” he said.
Charamba said the government was working on ways to curb piracy, which affects upcoming artistes.
Beitbridge will soon have its own radio station and Charamba invited for applications from the community of Beitbridge.
He urged people to uphold their culture by showing it out to the country, the region and Africa as a whole.
“I am glad to announce that the President wants the television to transform and reflect our local content.”
Charamba said the shortage of funds stopped mobile operations of his department tasked with rural outreach programmes. His ministry in the past provided mobile van services that would educate communities of development through films.
“There is a shortage of funds, but as soon as we have funding, we will relaunch the programme.”