From Business Day Live
Two months after its launch, 1st TV — which broadcasts from an undisclosed location in South Africa into Zimbabwe, on free-to-air satellite decoders and the internet — is going off air as its financial resources dwindle, it said.
Launched a few days before the July 31 national election, the television station promised to provide millions of viewers with an alternative voice to the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), used as an instrument of praise for President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu (PF) party.
Zanu (PF) denounced the launch of 1st TV as a weapon funded by the West to effect illegal regime change and vowed to “cripple” the TV station.
Andrew Chadwick, a former political lieutenant in Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, is understood to have been at the helm of the TV station, which also employed veteran journalists Temba Hove and Violet Gonda, who interviewed various political players during its brief life span.
The station said: “1st TV launched on the promise of one month’s financial support. We managed to extend that to two months. But as of now, we have to go off air while we raise more resources and source more programs. Therefore, 1st TV will temporarily suspend its current transmission at midnight this Saturday.
“We know that many of you may feel let down by this but we can assure you that we will be back on air with a much more comprehensive programme schedule to suit your needs.
“It is because of your support and your right to receive and impart information that we can be sure of returning. We believe that this platform can not only provide the programming that you deserve, but that it can do so in a commercially viable fashion.”
Media observers in Zimbabwe said the exit of 1st TV would leave a “void” in the country’s broadcasting landscape, which has been dominated by ZBC for the past 33 years.
“Our pledge to you, is that when we return it will be on a permanent basis and it will be with improved entertainment programming, more soaps, movies and dramas, as well improved education, information and news programs,” 1st TV said.
Read more at Business Day Live