Government denies plans to liberalise the airwaves
(MISA/IFEX) - Minister of State for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo has denied that the government is considering leasing out part of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's (ZBC) services to foreign organisations as part of efforts to liberalise the airwaves.
The minister was responding to press reports that the government was considering opening the airwaves to various operators by leasing out ZBC channels. "The impression is incorrect and does not represent government thinking or policy on the matter," said Moyo.
Moyo said the government was urgently reviewing ways and means of ensuring that the ZBC was fully empowered to carry out its public mandate by meeting technological and other material requirements in keeping with global broadcasting trends. It was not the intention of the government to liberalise airwaves in a manner that undermined national ownership and values.
"Rather, government sees its role as one extending choice to Zimbabweans through recognising locals' talent and entrepreneurship, while retaining the ZBC's role as a public broadcaster whose responsibility and function is influenced, driven and governed by Zimbabwean concerns," he said.
On 11 August 2000, the "Zimbabwe Independent" reported that the Ministry of Transport and Communications was considering opening the airwaves to various operators by leasing out the ZBC. The newspaper quoted the new minister of transport and communications, Swithun Mombeshora, as saying that the government was seriously considering the issue. Mombeshora has since denied ever speaking to Brian Hungwe, the writer of the story. Hungwe, however, confirmed to MISA-Zimbabwe that he did have an interview with the minister.