Zimbabwe: Ill-Prepared ZBC Fails to Launch TV2 due to "technical unpreparedness and lack of programmes”


The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's much hyped launch of TV2 has failed to take off. According to sources, ZBC which is struggling to attract viewers due to its archaic and partisan programming, delayed the launch due to "technical unpreparedness and lack of programmes to fill up the schedule".

ZBC chief executive officer, Happison Muchechetere, announced last year that TV2 was going to be on air by Christmas Day. But a source said: "It was clear that the channel would not take off around Christmas because of a lot of technical challenges and the programmes to have this running are evidently scarce."

ZBC at the moment has one television channel that dutifully churns out Zanu PF's propaganda. This is despite the formation of the inclusive government last February whose major tasks include ensuring tolerance, media diversity and cessation of hate language.

Private media players have been waiting for the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) to call for radio and television licence applications in line with the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that brought about the unity government. Sivukile Simango, the ZBC public relations manager however said what delayed the launch was "some paperwork delay from the big people above. ZTV2 is coming soon," he maintained last week.

"If you flip through your television channels you will see the colour bars on the other channels. Technically it's done, studios are finished and we have digitalised.

"You will also notice that we have been on a trial run beaming some programmes just to see how prepared we are."

Simango revealed that veteran broadcaster, Patrick Nyamhunga, is going to be the manager of the new baby. Nyamhunga once worked for Radio One now Spot FM in the early 80's.

Media, Information and Publicity Deputy Minister Jameson Timba recently said Zimbabwe had the capacity to licence seven more television stations under the available broadcasting space.

In terms of the current frequency allocation plan, Zimbabwe has the capacity to host three new television stations on the Ultra High Frequency (UHF) band and one TV station on Very High Frequency (VHF) band. If Zimbabwe goes digital through a multiplex, it can have six additional television stations on the UHF and one more on the VHF band.

The Standard 23rd January 2010