ZBC demands $165,000 from MDC-T for coverage
By Violet Gonda
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s extreme bias was exposed at the
weekend when the state broadcaster demanded $165,000 from the MDC-T to cover
the party’s manifesto launch in Marondera on Sunday. This was despite
providing live, free coverage of ZANU PF’s campaign launch in Harare on
It is the duty of the public broadcaster to give all participating political
parties equal coverage in the run up to elections. All state media are also
supposed to comply with electoral guidelines in providing access to
candidates from all political parties, but only ZANU PF activities are being
given widespread coverage, three weeks before the general elections.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told thousands of supporters at Rudhaka
Stadium in Marondera that he refused to make the payment after receiving a
quotation from the ZBC.
“We (have been) shut out of the public media which has taken a position to
cover live in the electronic media, the campaign of President Mugabe and
He said he was aware that ZANU PF did not pay for the coverage of their
campaign launch at Zimbabwe Grounds last Friday.
Part of Tsvangirai’s letter sent to the ZBC in response read: “Thank you for
responding to our invitation, however, your invoice quoted for US$165,000 as
coverage fee is in our opinion not competitive and grossly unfair given that
as a State broadcaster, the constitution requires that you give equal and
fair coverage to all political players at this time of election campaigning.
“The action by the national broadcaster is unacceptable and totally
deplorable, your attitude towards us and your expectation that we pay for
live broadcasting grossly and negatively affects the impartiality and
non-partisanship expected of a public broadcaster.”
Meanwhile, Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba accused the US ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Bruce Wharton, of behaving as if he was “an MDC councillor in
Harare” after the envoy expressed concern over the partisan political
coverage by the ZBC.
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