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ZBC defiant on excessive Grace coverage
14/10/2014 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE State-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has defended its wide coverage of Grace Mugabe’s rallies saying it is doing so because it is “an important national story”.

Grace, who entered formal politics in August, has received acres of attention by the state broadcaster which has been religiously covering her every rally.

Privately owned newspapers have of late criticised the ZBC for giving Grace inordinate attention at the expense of development news.

But in a statement on Monday, ZBC General Manager News and Current Affairs, Tazzen Mandizvidza, accused the private press of distorting events around Mugabe's surprise entry into politics.

Mandizvidza, who is also ZBC’s editor-in-chief, described Mugabe's whirlwind tour as "an important national story", insisting the public broadcaster will continue deploying cameras to shame "merchants of lies".

"By bringing the story of Dr Mugabe as it has been happening, we at ZBC believe that we have at the end of the day denied the merchants of falsehoods from peddling their lies and presenting them to the nation as truth because the viewers and listeners, who also are newspaper readers, are fully and better informed by ZBC on Dr Grace Mugabe's message," said Mandizvidza.

Mandizvidza, a known Zanu PF sympathiser, rebuked private papers he accused of singling out the broadcaster for criticism and yet carry screaming daily headlines and editorials about the controversial PhD holder.

"We find it as amusing as it is misleading that there are some who pretend to raise their eyebrows at ZBC's full coverage of the Dr Mugabe running story, when they have been putting the same story on their front pages since it broke out," he said.

"One Sunday publication today even had three full stories, a cartoon and an editorial comment on Dr Mugabe while at the same time crying foul over ZBC's coverage of the same.

"This is rank hypocrisy of the worst kind. By dedicating so much space to Dr Mugabe, the Sunday publication in question is actually in agreement with us that this is an important story that deserves continuous and full coverage, but what baffles the mind is why the same publication finds it shameful for us to give the same story similar treatment on television and radio."

Mandizvidza added: "As a national broadcaster, we make no apologies for carrying out our mandate to inform our viewers and listeners on matters of national importance through complete coverage and reporting of the story of the moment whether it is about a rising and
significant political figure like Dr Mugabe or about any other that might catch the imagination of the nation tomorrow.”


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