The Zimbabwe government has abandoned plans to introduce digital broadcasting to democratize the airwaves after money earmarked for the project was diverted, it has been revealed.
The regime of dictator Robert Mugabe has been fighting plans to digitalize as that would allow independent players to broadcast on both radio and television as envisaged by the International Telecommunications Union. Broadcasting is tightly controlled by the ruling Zanu PF party, which uses the airwaves to misinform the public and direct the illegal activities of its murderous militias.
Minister of Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Christopher Mushohwe said only ’30 percent’ of the project had been completed and nothing would be done for the rest of the year due to a shortage of funds. Zimbabwe missed the ITU deadline of June 2015 to move away from the archaic analogue to digital broadcasting. The previous information minister Jonathan Moyo lied to parliament that Zimbabwe would have fully digitalised by February 2016 to escape potent ITU sanctions.
“The Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project which I said is now slightly over 30% complete was scheduled to be completed this year but will not be completed because of resource constraints,” Mushohwe said. “There are other competing national priorities which have seen the amount of money being made available by Treasury to the project as per the original budget being drastically reduced. Consequently, the project is stalling, at times almost stopping, though the Ministry is pressing on. If the country is to realise the full benefits that come with the project, we should, as a nation, strive to finish the project in a reasonable time frame.”
Independent broadcasting is banned in Zimbabwe except for characters linked to the Mugabe regime, who are given strict guidelines on what they can or cannot say on air.
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