HARARE – State-owned television station Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation Television (ZBC TV) has refused to air a 50 seconds-long advert from the Prime Minister’s office.
Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, says the failure by the State broadcaster to flight “a politically colourless advert” while playing Zanu PF jingles smacks of double standards.
“We gave ZBC an advert from the Prime Minister’s office almost a month ago and they only responded on Friday last week saying that they will contact us when they start screening political advertisement as required by the law,” said Tamborinyoka.
In a letter dated June 28, undersigned by Tazzen Mandizvidza, ZBC general manager, the broadcaster cites statutory instrument 33, 2008 of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission’s (Zec) which compels the public media to avail a platform for all political parties to advertise.
“We are now in the election period and we are guided by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission media coverage of elections regulations,” says the letter. “The regulation requires us as a public broadcaster to allocate airtime equitably between the election period.”
However, Tamborinyoka says ZBC is missing the point because the premier’s advertisement was not coming from the MDC office but from government.
“We have no problems with the regulations of Zec but this was an advert that was paid for similar to Zanu PF adverts that were flighted at the material time,” said Tamborinyoka. “This shows the imperative need for media reforms at the ZBC.”
Tamborinyoka said Tsvangirai will push for media reforms so as to level the playing field ahead of crunch elections.
“It remains a concern that a politically colourless advert from the prime minister was not flighted but Zanu PF continues to have access. This is the reason why we are insisting on media reforms.”