THE government is looking at ways of “crippling” the new television station for Zimbabwe set to be launched in South Africa Friday, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson has said.
Project promoters revealed this week that 1st TV will be accessible to Zimbabweans with Wiztech decoders who recently saw the loss of SABC channels from the free to air satellite platform.
The TV station has recruited SW Radio Station presenter Violet Gonda and former ZBC producer-presenter Temba Hove, among others.
Andrew Chadwick, a British national who once worked for Sky News and as MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai’s communications director, is the station’s executive producer.
Commenting on the development Mugabe’s spokesman and information ministry secretary George Charamba told the Herald: “We will be taking decisions mindful of the need to cripple this pirate television broadcast station.
“We have been aware of the technical corroboration between VOA and Sentech, what we did not expect was this expansion of that corroboration.
“Also we are not very sure if the South African government is aware of what its parastatal is doing to hurt Zimbabwean interests; we will pursue diplomatic channels.”
The new TV station said in a statement released on Wednesday that it would “provide impartial, factual news to the people of Zimbabwe as well as broadcasting popular films, soap operas and comedies.”
A statement signed by Hove said: “Over the past seven years, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean households have installed Wiztech decoders, as they made clear their desire for quality, independent information and entertainment.
“With the recent loss of SABC from the platform, Zimbabweans have once again been at the mercy of the dire production standards and biased reporting of the state media.
"33 years after independence, it is high time that the people get what they demand and deserve in respect to their right to information and that is the role that 1st TV will play.
"This exciting project means that Zimbabweans will now have a station that not only broadcasts to them but also will serve as a platform for all people to express their views and to share information about what is happening in their areas and in their lives.
"We know that the people want a service that is professional, that reports without fear or favour and is responsive to their needs and that is 1st TV.”