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ZBC won’t air hostile messages, minister tells opposition

INFORMATION, Publicity and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Kindness Paradza yesterday said opposition parties would only have their campaign advertisements flighted on public broadcaster, ZBC, once they tone done on hate speech .

Speaking on the sidelines of a Transmedia workshop in the capital, Paradza said: “It is not true that the opposition is not allowed to campaign on national broadcaster (ZTV), the problem is their packaging. They should campaign without promoting hate speech. Government cannot let messages that promote hate speech and violence being aired on national television,” he said.

Opposition party leaders are demanding a raft of electoral reforms ahead of next year’s polls, among them equal access to State media.

Public media, especially the national broadcaster, is mandated by law to give all political parties contesting in elections fair coverage, something they have failed to do in the previous polls.

Opposition parties yesterday accused Zanu PF of inciting violence and monopolising State media.

 “If there is a party that promotes violence and hate speech in Zimbabwe it is the ruling Zanu PF. They call the opposition the enemy yet they are allowed to freely use the national broadcaster. Public media in Zimbabwe is not free and accessible because the ruling party has monopolized it,” People’s Unity Party leader Herbert Chamuka said.

Several election observer missions in 2018 noted that the national television was biased in favour of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Opposition parties have resorted to using social media platforms to campaign after being denied access to the State media.

Meanwhile, Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa has said government is committed to the safety of journalists in the country.

Mutsvangwa said this during commemorations of the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists in Victoria Falls.

“Commemorations like this one helps bring violations and crimes against this noble profession and media workers under the spotlight,” Mutsvangwa said.

“As a country we have made the safety of journalists an issue of high priority, hence our enactment of the Freedom of Information Act to provide both the media and the public legislative protection in their quest to access information, we have taken note of a few isolated reported cases of journalists being harassed at some political rallies and we have rebuked the political parties that allow their supporters to violate the rights of journalists and the their freedom to access stories.”

“Attacks on media workers continue incessantly across the world, with countries that are renowned as strongholds of democracy sliding down on the world press freedom indexes.

“Sadly, those who perpetrate crimes against journalists go unpunished, which should not be the case as there are laws that protect and give journalists the freedom to perform their duties without fear,” she said.

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