MDC-T co-vice president and Kuwadzana MP, Nelson Chamisa has called on the country’s Information and Broadcasting Services ministry to avail television and radio licences to political parties as was the case with other countries.
He was speaking in Parliament on Wednesday during the lower house’s question and answer session.
Chamisa, who is also former Information, Communication Technology minister, said there was need for political parties to be offered a chance to own and broadcast their own content rather than rely on the national broadcaster, ZBC-TV.
“I would like to know government policy on how political parties can get to own television or even radio stations in Zimbabwe.
“It is now time for the ministry of information to grant us licences so that we disseminate our own content rather than rely on ZBC-TV,” said Chamisa in a question he directed at Information and Broadcasting Services deputy minister Sithokozile Mathuthu.
Mathuthu said in her response that political parties were not going to get any preferential treatment but will instead have to battle it out with other applicants after the current digitilisation process has been completed.
“Government will be entertaining broadcast applicants for potential broadcasters after the completion of the digitilisation process.
The completion of the process will result in addition of twelve stations of which six have been reserved for the national broadcaster.
The current Zanu PF government has been accused of granting broadcasting licences to individuals and firms linked to the ruling party.
ZBC-TV and its four radio stations have in the past been dismissed as Zanu PF mouthpieces which does not cover opposition parties.
Where the opposition receives coverage, the news would often be negative to it.
During the campaign period for the 2013 elections, ZBC-TV refused to air MDC-T adverts arguing that they were not suitable for television or radio.
However, Zanu PF conferences and rallies by the First Lady Grace Mugabe often receive uninterrupted live television coverage for hours on ZBC.
The main opposition in 2015 said it was planning to establish its own radio and TV stations to counter Zanu PF hegemony in the public media.
The party has in the past published its monthly newsletter Real Change Times