ZBC, give us reason to pay

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is attempting innovative ways to attract citizens to pay licence fees, and this includes staggered payments over a year.

The broadcaster is mandated by law to collect licence fees for its operations supposedly as a state broadcaster.

We need to disabuse the public that the ZBC by virtue of ownership, management and its programming is not a public broadcaster or a national broadcaster, but a state broadcaster, which behaves as a party broadcaster.

The ZBC signals are not accessed by all Zimbabweans nor is there any semblance of public representativeness in its news content.

The ZBC has been struggling with sustainability over many years now and this is now being attributed to a lack of funding.  

Hardly has the station noted a lack of trust as a key factor behind the open snub by the citizens of Zimbabwe.

To put it more crudely there is not an iota of difference between ZBC and the Rhodesia Broadcasting Corporation (RBC).

ZBC has put itself in the same shoes of the RBC and fits squarely, leaving no room or a shed of difference apart from the skin colour of the men and women who now dominate its operations.

Of course one difference is that while the RBC staff were well-remunerated, the current staff at ZBC are fed a diet of indoctrination which has not translated into food on their tables — apart from a few chefs the rest are starving.

I am among the millions who have refused and will not pay a dime to ZBC because I benefit nothing.  
During the cholera outbreak in 2008, the ZBC ignored and misled many resulting in nearly 4 000 people dying.

So when the ZBC cries for my money, what do they want it for, to continue insulting me?
 
Happison Muchechetere the ZBC boss was in the media a few weeks ago, crying that they need money to buy good programmes.

This has nothing to do with programmes Muchechetere, but everything to do with the polarisation of your news programmes.

I really don’t mind what entertainment programmes the ZBC broadcasts daily, but I care so much about the time it allots for public debate and discussions on public affairs.

What we get from ZBC is Zanu PF propaganda that in many instances does not make sense.

When I watch the 8pm main news, I need my high blood pressure pills by my side.

Until ZBC stops causing me and many others so much pain, then we don’t see the need to support the corporation — we cannot sponsor our own deaths!

Most people are watching free-to-air channels because they are running away from ZBC’s ideological programmes.

Many, whom the ZBC intend to squeeze license fees from, are urbanites who are known to have voted the other way in all elections since 2002.

ZBC does not carry the voices of other political leaders in Zimbabwe apart from lampooning them. Is it not better therefore, Muchechetere that you direct your pleas for money to Rugare Gumbo at Zanu PF headquarters?

The ZBC must not only cover Zanu PF and its activities, but must cover all voices in Zimbabwe equally, allow debate by various voices on national radio and TV and represent all of us Zimbabweans, in our political, religious and ethnic, cultural, racial, religious diversity.

So, as long as the ZBC remains a mouthpiece of Zanu PF, there will be resistance to pay.

Until that time the ZBC sees the need to represent all of us, then they shall indeed remain poor.

As for me, I will look for a few dollars to watch pay TV.

If there is need to pay any licence fees I am better off paying to the new independent radio stations because I can call, contribute on public issues and I can at least listen to voices other than Zanu PF.  - David Mutomba

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