Monday, March 28, 2011

Zanu (PF) jamming on VOA Studio 7

Relentless jamming by President Robert Mugabe’s forces is depriving Zimbabweans of a wide array of free entertainment sources provided by foreign governments. Music and soccer have become the latest battlefronts, with talented musicians forced to sing praises of Mugabe while footballers play in tournaments named after him. But the latest deployment of Chinese-made jamming has forced even the VOA to acknowledge routinely in its Zimbabwe broadcasts that the waves are jammed. An announcer is now regularly heard to say: “This is Studio 7 for Zimbabwe broadcasting on 909 AM, but due to jamming your best reception would be on Shortwave…” Zanu (PF) made external broadcasts a major issue during the negotiations for a settlement in 2008, demanding that they be banned. Recently, the controversially-appointed Broadcasting Authority announced it was ready to take applications, which would be a first step for the so-called pirates to come home. None of the big players have taken up the offer, citing continued insecurity in the country and the sheer economics of setting up independent broadcasting in a collapsing economy. Surprisingly, Zanu (PF) officials are clamouring to be heard on the Voice of America Studio 7, which is virtually banned in Zimbabwe by Mugabe’s government. Recently, senior Zanu (PF) and pro-Mugabe officials Rugare Gumbo, Joram Gumbo, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Attorney General Johannes Tomana have freely given interviews to the ‘pirates’. (Source: The Zimbawean)

Zimbabwe legislators fume over broadcasting delays
MDC MPs in Zimbabwe have expressed outrage at the continued delays by the government in issuing broadcasting licences to private players at a time when President Robert Mugabe has tightened his grip on the state-run ZBC. Member of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Communications, Edward Msumbu (MDC-T, Norton) said he did not believe that Zanu (PF)’s previous paranoid fear of independent broadcasters was still the cause for the delay in the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) issuing licences. “It is accepted by the relevant authorities that licences should be given to broadcasters,” Mr Msumbu said in an interview. “We don’t know where the delay is. The broadcasters are assuring us that all the necessary equipment is there.” Radio VOP director John Masuku confirmed the position, saying the broadcasters were ready to start commercial FM stations any time. He lambasted BAZ for issuing a false statement saying they had opened up for applications. (Source: The Zimbabwean/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)