Matonga raps ZTV

Itai Mushekwe

DEPUTY Information minister, Bright Matonga, has lashed out at the mediocre programming and productions at Zimbabwe television (ZTV), describing them as a challenge that needs to be addressed u

rgently.


He called for the involvement of private players in television and film sectors to improve quality.


“We need more programmes and more independent production houses,” he said.


The minister’s remarks come hard on the heels of in-house squabbles over mediocrity at Zimbabwe’s sole broadcasting station.


Matonga made the assertions while addressing a film audience last week during the premiere of Zimbabwe’s latest feature film, Tanyaradzwa, at the Zimbabwe International Film Festival.


The minister could not hide his disappointment with the deteriorating standards of productions at ZTV.


“As a minister and a journalist, I’m not happy with the type of productions we have,” said Matonga.


He said the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) passed in 2002 remains a major stumbling block in the way of new players in the sector owing to high service fees charged in hard currency.


Since its promulgation, no private broadcaster has been granted an operating licence, casting a dark shadow over the future of the broadcasting industry in Zimbabwe.


The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Communications this week added its voice to the growing chorus of dissatisfaction over the operations of the state broadcaster.


The Leo Mugabe-led committee ordered Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) chairman, Rino Zhuwarara, to submit to it qualifications and remuneration of all ZBH staffers amid revelations of personnel forging qualifications.


Information secretary, George Charamba, stormed the Newsnet newsroom last month after his call on the newsroom hotline went unanswered. Charamba alleged that Newsnet had failed to capture the gist of President Robert Mugabe’s speech during a news bulletin on Heroes Day.


Sources say the quality of production and programming at the television station has been affected by the ZBH’s delay in switching over from analogue to digital broadcasting systems.