African editors criticise ZBC over steep fees

HARARE - The African Editors Forum (TAEF) has expressed disappointment with the decision of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to impose fees on broadcast feeds of the on-going Constitutional Court hearing on the July 30 elections.

The Con-Court which sat on Wednesday will give its verdict today at 2pm.

The Zimbabwean Judicial Services Commission decided that the ZBC will have exclusive access to the court hearing.

This left ZBC with all the broadcast rights and they decided to impose charges for distributing the broadcast feed.

“TAEF learned with disappointment that the ZBC, a State broadcaster, charges $13 500 per day for live TV feed and $5 200 for radio feeds,” a statement from the editors reads.

“While TAEF appreciates the creative ways the ZBC has employed to raise much-needed revenue, their decision will limit access to the proceedings which are of acute national and international interest.

“Therefore, the decision by the ZBC will deny millions across Africa and the world — including Zimbabweans in the Diaspora, access to information that they have a right to.

“TAEF calls on the leadership of the Zimbabwean public broadcaster to adopt and implement universally-accepted conduct where the host broadcaster provides TV and radio feeds free to others.

“TAEF is in principle opposed to the imposition of the fees by ZBC.”

The forum also appealed to the leadership of ZBC to rescind the decision to charge for broadcast fees.

“We also urge the government of Zimbabwe, who control the ZBC through the ministry of Information, to demonstrate the dawn of a new era in Zimbabwe by instructing the leaders of the ZBC to do the right thing and open up the airwaves.

“The imposition of prohibitively expensive feeds belongs to the old Zimbabwe and an epoch that the new Zimbabwe is supposedly walking away from,” the statement reads.

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