By Staff Reporter
STATE broadcaster, ZBC has been granted what appeared Saturday to be the sole right to broadcast the high-profile Constitutional Court poll challenge by presidential election losing candidate Nelson Chamisa of MDC Alliance on Wednesday.
In a response to an application filed together with many more in the private broadcasting space to air the event, the Judicial Services Commission (JSC) gave ZBC-TV the go-ahead, to the exclusion of others.
“Please be advised that the Judicial Services Commission has authorised you to broadcast live on national television and selected radio platforms the proceedings of the Constitutional Court involving the electoral challenge to the results of the 2018 presidential election.
“We are pleased to note that you have the capacity to distribute live signal feed to other broadcasters who may be interested in covering the court proceedings.
“We will accordingly refer them to you if there is need,” the JSC said.
The apparent biases towards a broadcaster that has been accused of denying the opposition coverage during recent election campaigns will come as a disappointment among private players who were hoping for the chance to air the event to their different world audiences.
Media rights lobby, Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe) has moved to file a Constitutional challenge demanding the right to live-cast the event which has a high potential of changing the face of Zimbabwean politics and the judiciary depending on the verdict on the day.
The decision to grant ZBC the sole right to broadcast the event could also be construed as a government revenue generating strategy for the cash-strapped broadcaster which has struggled over the years to stay on its feet as any attempt to piggyback on its feed comes with revenue inflows to it.
ZBC also has its own capacity constraints as some of its broadcasts are not easily accessible among Zimbabweans living in remote areas and abroad.
The Zanu PF led government is accused of denying private players the right to set up radio and television stations in the country with licences granted to firms with close links to the system.
However, enterprising locals have taken advantage of new media to break walls set up by government with the country’s diaspora population now relying on the new innovation to follow events back home.