Zimbabwe’s national channel to air Chinese news

tv_Robert_S._DonovanThe agreement stands the risk of diverting Zimbabwean viewers away from ZBC. (Image source: Robert S. Donovan/Flickr)The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) has signed an MoU with China Central Television (CCTV) agreeing to broadcast Chinese news programmes for the next three years

Earlier this week, ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere and CCTV's Luo Ming signed the deal, which has a potential risk of diverting Zimbabwean viewers further away from the already stale national network.

It was reported that CCTV will, among other things, provide ZBC with the necessary equipment to receive the programmes.

Several radio listeners in Bulawayo criticised ZBC for choosing to promote Chinese programming when there were a lot of groups in the city being deprived from publicity for their activities.

In February 2012, a Zimbabwe All Media Products and Services Survey (ZAMPS) revealed that only 24 per cent of the population was presently watching ZBC TV, down from 38 per cent in 2008. Listenership of its radio channels have also slumped to a new low with a private radio channel being launched recently.

Viewers have turned away from ZBC over the years with the broadcasting network reducing itself to nothing but a campaign platform for ZANU PF, the ruling party in Zimbabwe. People have chosen satellite dishes and preferred foreign stations instead of the national network.

A coalition government formed in February 2009, to stem the tide of brutal ZANU PF violence, has also failed to reform ZBC’s biased coverage. The ZANU PF information minister has blocked all attempts at reforming the broadcast sector.

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