30 October 2014
   
New Zimbabwe Header
State media bids to destroy Mujuru, analysts
Gaddafi was on path to reform: Mugabe
Man rapes teen, infects her with STI
Zambia: Messy presidency fight starts
TB Joshua threatened with arrest
New Malawi envoy called Mugabe an idiot
Denmark next as EU re-engages Zim
Biti: Grace’s power bid sheer madness
MORE NEWS
Zimplats output down 13pc on shutdown
ZSE recovery seen as temporary
MORE BUSINESS
Macheso son-in-law threatens expose
Video leak forces Maradona theft U-turn
MORE SHOWBIZ
ZPC Kariba maintain Dynamos pressure
Bosso fall to fifth straight defeat
MORE SPORTS
Participation and reality based Economics
Africa: Not yet Uhuru
MORE OPINION
 
Dr Chireka: On the junior doctors' strike
Open letter to Grace Mugabe
MORE COLUMNISTS
 
 
First independent TV station goes on air
19/07/2013 00:00:00
by AP
 
Alternative voice ... 1st TV started broadcasting on Friday
 
RELATED STORIES
Moyo looks into ZBC malaise
New TV station aims to bring balance
Govt to ‘cripple’ new TV station
New Zimbabwe TV station to launch
South Africa licences porn channels
Police raid puts TV station off air
Sentech fights SABC blackout order
BBC presenter praises prison solidarity
Judge orders BBC presenter freed
Tsvangirai demands Shamu axe
Millions face SABC blackout
ZBC's Freedom Moyo dies
Nando's SA pulls Mugabe advert
Nando's threatened over Mugabe advert

THE country’s first independent television station went on air Friday to challenge the 30-year state broadcasting monopoly controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Mugabe's party said earlier Friday it will take all measures to "cripple" what it calls a pirate station.

The station, known as 1st TV, began broadcasting in the evening. It is a satellite feed from outside Zimbabwe using a free network received by an estimated 700,000 homes across the country.

State media reported that George Charamba, Mugabe's spokesman, said South Africa will be asked to stop broadcasts believed to be beamed from there because they "hurt Zimbabwean interests" ahead of elections on July 31.

ZBC-TV has about 350,000 peak hour evening viewers. The new station hopes to attract 3 million viewers.

The regional free-to-air satellite platform known as Wiztech became available earlier this month after a South African court ordered that country's state broadcaster to stop using it to transmit its programming at no cost because of infringements of copyright laws.

The latest independent Zimbabwe Advertising Products Survey said Wiztech satellite signal decoder receivers brought SABC programs and regional gospel church broadcasts to viewers turning them away from ZBC programs seen as a key propaganda tool for Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Pay television satellite channels have about 40,000 subscribers in Zimbabwe. The free service has seen satellite dishes mushrooming on impoverished township roofs, hostels and shanty dwellings, some powered by car batteries, in the past five years as local terrestrial state TV deteriorated.

Ahead of the July 31 elections, state television and radio have been broadcasting Zanu PF campaign rallies live, using new outside broadcast facilities provided by China. The television on Wednesday broadcast a Mugabe campaign rally live for nearly three hours.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader in a shaky coalition with Mugabe since the last violent and disputed elections in 2008, receives little coverage by the state broadcaster.

Charamba alleged Friday that 1st TV was being funded by Western nations out of South Africa and was being led by journalists backing Tsvangirai.

But Andrew Chadwick, an executive producer at the station, told The Associated Press that Zimbabwean journalists outside the country saw an opportunity to provide independent and balanced news and discussion to Zimbabweans for the first time since independence in 1980, along with movies, soaps and entertainment.



Advertisement

"This is a new and entirely commercial and viable station. It is not a stand-alone one for elections. It is an alternative source of information and entertainment that until now have been completely controlled by Mugabe's party," he said.

It was no surprise that any loss of that long-embedded and overwhelming broadcast domination infuriated Mugabe's party, which the station has now asked to participate in political debates and buy advertising space, he said.

Charamba said Mugabe's party in the coalition had demanded private radio stations allegedly favouring Tsvangirai that were broadcasting into Zimbabwe from outside the country be shut down under the power sharing agreement, but the MDC-T party insists it has not been given equal access to the state media controlled by Mugabe that also had not stopped bitter "hate speech" directed at Mugabe's opponents.

In previous elections, the state broadcaster was the main source of information for rural Zimbabweans in the population of about 13 million people.

Mugabe persistently refused calls by regional mediators on Zimbabwe's decade long political and economic crisis to open up the airwaves to independent broadcasters to end his party's one-sided propaganda.

Chinese engineers have helped the state broadcaster jam some incoming independent radio programs.

Chadwick said 1st TV's internationally licensed and recognized satellite signal beamed from an undisclosed location not inside South Africa cannot be jammed or shut down by advanced technical or electronic methods.


 
Email this to a friend Printable Version Discuss This Story
Share this article:

Digg it

Del.icio.us

Reddit

Newsvine

Nowpublic

Stumbleupon

Face Book

Myspace

Fark
 
 
 
comments powered by Disqus
 
RSS NewsTicker