Zimbabwe’s digital migration project is on course and is occurring at the same time with other developments within the region, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, Senator Monica Mutsvangwa has said.
Minister Mutsvangwa was addressing the Magunje community this mourning where she launched the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration (DTT) Project.
She said the launch was special in the history of Zimbabwe in that it happens as the nation celebrates its 41st independence anniversary, “where we celebrate, among other things, various freedoms: freedom of speech on various media, freedom of expression through theatre arts, freedom of choice and association.”
“All these freedoms are expressed over radio and television in various programming, preserving our culture along the way, among other benefits as sovereign people of Zimbabwe,” she said.
“Through the Zimbabwe Digital Broadcasting Migration Project (DTT Project) that we are launching today, our citizens will enjoy access to twelve (12) Free-to-Air digital television services in Zimbabwe. The Second Republic is delivering this project at the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, where television and radio have been central in providing public health and safety information and running basic primary and secondary education lessons for our learners. Zimbabwe has entered a communication and information age, for which there is no turning back.
“The Digital Switch-Over we are witnessing today is occurring at the same time with other developments within the region. We are moving along with other African countries such as Nigeria and South Africa, which have announced their Digital Switch-Over dates. This switchover is cross-cutting among various developmental themes of the Second Republic (Devolution, Education 5.0, Opening up of airwaves, and a Digital-driven Economy).”
Minister Mutsvangwa said the Second Republic has since 2018 facilitated the installation of 18 digital television transmitters countrywide.
She said, “The areas prioritized are those that were historically unserved or underserved with television services. Karoi is one of the areas. Today we are officially launching the Karoi transmitter, but there are other areas equally earmarked. Of note, we will be launching Chimanimani, a deliberate move by the Second Republic to stimulate the connectivity of that region to the mainstream economy following a series of floods, including Cyclone Idai that had cut off the area from the rest of the country. The complete list of areas has: Mutorashanga, Chivhu, Binga, Mudzi, Gokwe, Gweru, Kotwa, Karoi, Gwanda, Kamativi, Kadoma, Harare, Chiredzi, Chimanimani, Nyanga, Kenmaur, Mutare and Bulawayo.”
She said the US$125 million project has to date achieved several behind the scenes works in digitalizing mass media infrastructure at the national broadcaster , ZBC, national signal carrier- Transmedia Corporation and the industry regulator, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ).
“As we celebrate our 41st Independence, I would also like to applaud the Project Management team for taking a unique approach to stimulate local content productions that are in line with cultural preservation. As Government, we applaud this initiative as it lowers the barriers to entry for content creators,” added Hon Mutsvangwa.
She also noted updates of compromised service delivery due to erratic power supply to our transmission sites, promising to expedite ways to improve service delivery with power generation and supply authorities.
“My Ministry is grateful to Treasury for the continued support of the Project. Commitment from the Central Government is there to complete the Project as infrastructure development, and technology advancement is part of Vision 2030. Mass media communication, particularly television and radio, is also an integral part of the Devolution Agenda. When used responsibly, radio and television can become tools for discussing the local and national development agendas,” said Hon Mutsvangwa.
Today’s launch, Minister Mutsvangwa said, demonstrates the Second Republic’s commitment to media reform for the benefit of the people.
“Just recently, we opened the airwaves. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has licensed several Campus Radio stations, with Great Zimbabwe University going on-air last year and others following suit. The above is in line with Education 5.0, spearheaded by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, to capacitate our learners in Journalism and Engineering with practical learning. In addition, several Community Radio stations and 6 private television stations have also been licensed a development which is in line with Devolution Agenda to stimulate development dialogue in communities.”