The country’s only nominally private television station Joy TV suspended British Broadcasting Corporation news programming without any explanation.
The station which broadcast from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation premises and used ZBC facilities had been airing BBC news since its launch in July 1997.
It did not produce news of its own.
Although it produced talk shows it stopped the series shortly after Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai featured as a guest before the presidential elections.
Viewing cable 02HARARE1051, JOY TV” SUSPENDS BBC NEWS BROADCASTS
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS HARARE 001051
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SUBJECT: “JOY TV” SUSPENDS BBC NEWS BROADCASTS
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¶1. (U) Joy Television, a nominally independent
Zimbabwean television broadcaster, has suspended BBC
News programming with immediate effect. Since its
launch in July 1997, the station has broadcast a BBC
World TV news summary at 2000 each day. Joy TV offered
no explanation for dropping the BBC news.
¶2. (U) Joy TV operates on a frequency leased from the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and uses ZBC
facilities for its few productions. For the most part,
Joy TV offers its viewers (limited to the Harare area)
American sitcoms, action and talk shows. As part of
its licensing agreement with the Government of
Zimbabwe, Joy TV does not produce its own news
programming. It has, on occasion, produced talk shows.
Joy TV’s most recent talk show series disappeared
shortly after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai appeared as
the featured guest just before the presidential
¶3. (SBU) Comment: Joy TV’s license expires on May
31, 2002. The Government of Zimbabwe has indicated
that it will not renew the license. Joy TV management,
however, maintains that it will find an accommodation
with the government in order to stay on the air. Given
the Government of Zimbabwe’s hatred of the BBC, we
suspect that Joy TV’s sudden cancellation of BBC news
is part of that “accommodation.”