Thupeyo Muleya Beitbridge Bureau
Government has re-aligned budget allocations to communities countrywide to enhance the production of more content for the ongoing digital migration programme, Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Secretary Mr George Charamba has said.
He said the culture of pooling resources under one basket had resulted in delays in rolling out the digitisation programme with those outside major cities facing challenges.
Mr Charamba said the new initiative funds will be allocated based on the needs of content producers in a specific area.
He was speaking during a Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) outreach programme on digital migration held in Beitbridge.
“We are saying there is one level which is national where big artists will compete for one platform, but that, however, is not a fair basis for artists coming from outlying areas,” he said.
“So, the idea is to have a breakdown with a portion that particularly favour outline districts like Chiredzi and Beitbridge so that within the confines of that area we have them (artistes) competing for that particular component of the budget.
“It empowers local communities who historically had been disadvantaged.”
Mr Charamba said Government was transforming radio and television services in border towns and other outlying areas previously overlooked.
“We are making a second invitation to those interested in having commercial radio stations, especially in areas like Beitbridge which serves as a gateway to the country and the Sadc region.
“This kind of approach is that you have a special radio station which is resident, which identifies with local activities, culture and economic activities and assuming the character of the community that it serves,” he said.
Mr Charamba said it was worrying that in some areas radio and television network was still a challenge.
He said the Beitbridge transmitter would soon be upgraded to meet the modern digitisation facilities that carry both television and radio signals.
“We have a sad story in Beitbridge where the tower that was set up a few years before we put together the digital migration project.
“We need to bring up a new tower with improved range of services that are being enjoyed elsewhere in the country.
“I do not subscribe to a school of thought where a communities are condemned or stigmatised based on their geographical location,” he said.
Mr Charamba said it was also important for content producers to tell stories in their language.
He said national radio and television should be representative and be inclusive of the country’s official languages.