ZIMBABWE Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) needs an estimated R72 million to
replace obsolete signal transmission equipment to effect countrywide
reception of its radio and television signals, writes a
journalism.co.za correspondent.

The Minister of Media, Information, and Publicity Webster Shamu, told Parliament ZBH planned to overhaul its transmitters for both radio and television by year end.

However, he did not shed light on what had happened to the Iranian R60 million deal which was brokered by ousted Professor Jonathan Moyo during his tenure as Information Minister.

In 2004, the Iranians pledged R60 million for the digitalization of the ZBC but the deal later ran into trouble when Moyo was fired by President Robert Mugabe in 2005 before the Iranians had completed the programme.

But Shamu told Parliament on 29 July 2009 during an oral question and answer session that the equipment in place had outlived its lifespan and needed to be replaced at a cost of R32 million and R 40 million for the radio and television networks, respectively.

"The transmitters have been operating for the past 34 years instead of eight years. Consequently transmission will be affected. Almost all the transmitters in the country have outlived their lifespan and need  to be revamped," he said.

As present, Zimbabweans living along the country’s border areas do not receive the ZBC signal and tune into television and radio stations in Botswana, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia instead.

Meanwhile, musician Hosiah Chipanga is threatening to sue ZBC for banning his latest album, Hero Shoko (Hear is the Word), from receiving airplay through the state-controlled broadcaster.

Chipangas lawyer, Panganai Hare, has written to the national broadcaster giving it seven days within which to rectify the issue before taking the broadcaster to court.

Hare said the ZBCs move was an infringement on Chipangas freedom of expression as it impedes the albums availability and marketability to fans.

The ZBCs secretary, Norman Mahori, said he would examine the album before responding but would also consider the morals and ethics of a public broadcaster.