Saturday, 29 February 2020

ZBC STAFFERS TO BE BANNED FROM CONTESTING ELECTIONS


ZBC yesterday told the parliamentary portfolio committee on Information, Media and Broadcasting Services that it will soon enact a policy that prohibits its staffers from contesting in future political elections.

This comes after the State broadcaster came under fire after some of its employees contested in the 2018 harmonised elections on Zanu PF ticket and many critics said this compromised their objectivity when covering events.

“We are working on a policy which will change the culture of the organisation.

“We are aware of the concerns raised pertaining to the employees who dabbles in politics and the new policy which is being crafted is going to change that,” ZBC acting chief executive officer Wisdom Hombarume told the Prince Sibanda (Binga North) chaired committee yesterday.

In 2018, the ZBC staffers, who included Tendai Munengwa, Andrew Neshamba (Zanu PF Mt Darwin South) and Richmond Siyakurima (Zanu PF Uzumba), among others, participated in political elections.

 ZBC board chairperson Josaya Tai said there was no law that prohibited journalists from participating in any election.

Turning to the State broadcaster’s operations, Tai said his board was determined to transform ZBC into a competitive news organisation.

“We are here for culture change. Our thrust is on rebranding the public broadcaster,” Tai said.He said ZBC is bedevilled by a number of problems, chiefly poor funding.

“We need foreign currency in our operations and it is a challenge to access it.
“There is poor funding mechanisms considering that licensing contributes only five percent of total revenue.

“To make matters worse, the licences fees were last reviewed in 2009.
“Non-payment of ZBC by government agencies or arms further bleeds the broadcaster. As a result, the broadcaster has a service debt of about $100 million,” Tai said.

“Owing to poor funding, the State broadcaster is being accused of bias towards a certain political party.

“They say he who pays the piper dictates the tune.“The staffers are not well remunerated hence some of them will end up being compromised by certain individuals in politics,” he said.  Daily News

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