CCC has spurned slots allocated to them by the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) in terms of the Electoral Act while the party has also made “unrealistic” expectations on their advertisements by demanding that the public broadcaster do commercial productions on their behalf.
This was said by Permanent Secretary for Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Mr Nick Mangwana, in a statement yesterday, while responding to a statement from CCC that had accused ZBC of not flighting their programmes and adverts.
The CCC went on to characterise ZBC’s reports as “unconstitutional and biased in favour of Zanu PF”.
But Mr Mangwana said preliminary inquiries by the Government have shown that bickering and power struggles in CCC have seen the party failing to send representatives to take up their slots.
Mr Mangwana said while ZBC will substantially respond to the allegations by CCC, their role as the Government ends with providing policy direction and parliamentary accountability.
“The public broadcaster is independent of Government and has its own board and management. We support them with policy directions, resource advocacy and parliamentary accountability,” said Mr Mangwana.
“We have since asked them to formally respond to the CCC public statement so as to correct any misunderstandings which may have arisen between the parties. The ZBC have assured us that they will issue a statement in the spirit of public institution accountability.
“The position of Government is that the public broadcaster is there to serve all. This includes all political parties, all natural or juristic persons. From our preliminary inquiry, we have been made to understand that there are challenges with bringing CCC people on air as they either don’t want to come to programmes or they have internal contradictions which give them a challenge on deciding who should moderate or appear on a programme and how the programme should be structured.
“This sometimes leads to indecision on who should attend a programme on their behalf and the embargoing of others from attending. The public broadcaster tries to avoid getting involved in these internal contradictions which sometimes lead to the party not being represented at all in spite of ZBC’s efforts to have equitable representation of all players.”Regarding advertisements, Mr Mangwana said CCC declined to discharge its obligation by making its own commercial productions, and has, instead sought to have ZBC do so for them.
“When it comes to the airing of CCC adverts, ZBC reports that CCC leadership has an ‘unrealistic’ expectation that ZBC should do the commercial productions for them. This is a misunderstanding of the public broadcaster’s role.
“The CCC party needs to have its own creatives to do its productions just like Zanu PF. The ZBC is a broadcaster and not an advertising agency and would appreciate completed productions and of course commensurate payment for the purchased airtime,” said Mr Mangwana.
He said Zanu PF and the Government were paying for all their programmes including national events like galas if they are to be aired live on television.
Government pays for the National Heroes Galas when they are broadcast live on ZBC.
“We call upon everyone to support our national institutions in their commercial efforts to avoid turning into fiscal burdens to the taxpayer,” said Mr Mangwana.
In terms of the law, ZBC is obliged to allow all contesting political parties and candidates free broadcasting slots to air their views, and/or manifestos as well as submit paid for advertisements as part of creating a conducive environment for free and fair elections. Herald