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Joy TV closed down

Zimbabwe’s privately owned broadcasting station, Joy TV, closed down on 31 May 2002, after its lease agreement with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation was cancelled.

Joy TV was operating from the ZBC premises and had been ordered to drop the BBC news bulletin it broadcast every day. It was never allowed to produce local news except musicals and apolitical documentaries.

 

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Reference ID

Created

Released

Classification

Origin

02HARARE1355

2002-06-04 10:30

2011-08-30 01:44

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS HARARE 001355

 

SIPDIS

 

DEPT FOR AF/S, AF/PD

 

NSC FOR JENDAYI FRAZER

 

LONDON FOR GURNEY

 

PARIS FOR NEARY

 

NAIROBI FOR PFLAUMER

 

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: PREL PHUM KPAO ZI

SUBJECT: GOVERNMENT PUULS PLUG ON SEMI-INDEPENDENT TV

BROADCASTER

 

 

1.   The government of Robert Mugabe refused to re-new

the broadcast license of semi-independent television

broadcaster “Joy TV” and the station ceased operations

on May 31. The following report from the Zimbabwe

office of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA)

offers an accurate summary of the sad case of Joy TV.

 

2.   Begin Text:

 

CURTAIN COMES DOWN ON JOY TV

 

Zimbabwe’s privately owned broadcasting station, Joy

TV, started in July 1998, closed down on 31 May 2002,

bringing down the curtain on Zimbabwe’s botched

experiment with broadcasting diversity and carrying the

same dream down with it.

 

Joy TV closed down after a lease agreement it had with

the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) was

canceled on the grounds that Joy TV had violated the

Broadcasting Services Act that was enacted in 2001.

Joy TV was leasing ZBC’s second station, generally

known as TV 2.

 

The closure of Joy TV leaves the state-controlled ZBC

as the sole broadcasting voice in Zimbabwe. Although

the Broadcasting Services Act was enacted in 2001,

purportedly to regulate the entry of other players into

the industry, no private station has been licensed to

date. The ZBC therefore maintains its “monopoly”.

 

The short but eventful life of Joy TV faced stern

challenges, especially direct interference from the

government. This manifested itself in a direct order

for the station to drop the BBC news bulletin it

broadcast everyday. Joy TV was also never allowed to

produce local news except musicals and apolitical

documentaries. The station’s reliance on the ZBC for

transmission was a contributing factor to its demise.

The government could switch it off at any time,

effectively preventing Joy TV from producing any

programming that challenged the status quo.

 

The closure of Joy TV underscores the need to license

other players to enter the broadcasting industry. MISA-

Zimbabwe believes the Broadcasting Act needs major

amendments if private players are to survive in the

industry.

 

The government has largely ignored the calls to amend

the Act, which makes it virtually impossible for

private players to enter the industry. Among the many

blemishes in the Act are the prohibition on foreign

investment in the broadcasting industry and the

requirement that broadcasters adhere to a strictly

defined programme content.

End text.

SULLIVAN

 

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