Broadcaster censored

HENRY Muradzikwa, chief executive officer of Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, has admitted that political interference and censorship of news reports is the order of the day at the state-controlled national broadcaster.
Appearing before the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Co

mmunications, Muradzikwa said interference with ZBH’s editorial policy and government’s expectations of the state broadcaster undermined media freedom.
“We have been reporting on the basis of deception. What does the shareholder (government) want? The shareholder must make it public,” he said.
He said provincial governors were abusing ZBH bureau chiefs by treating them as part of their staff.
He also revealed that ZBH’s Iran-backed digitalisation programme had been stalled because of an unsettled debt of US$3 million. “The difficulty is that this is not a ZBH debt alone. It was incurred by both ZBH and ARDA (Agricultural Rural Development Authority). ZBH has paid its half.”
MISA-Zimbabwe said that, for the ZBC to be respected as an independent broadcaster, there was need for new legislation that ensured the appointment of its board of governors through a transparent public nomination and selection process. Legal provisions should be enshrined in the broadcaster’s charter or constitution, guaranteeing its editorial independence as well as ensuring that it is accountable to the public. – Own Correspondent

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