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Media of Zimbabwe

All broadcasters transmitting from Zimbabwean soil, as well as the main newspapers, are state-run and toe the government line.


Newspapers operate under restrictive media laws. The press is dominated by two pro-government dailies, the Harare-based Herald and the Bulawayo-based Chronicle, both tightly controlled by the Information Ministry.

Private publications, which are relatively vigorous in their criticism of the government, have come under severe pressure. A leading private daily, the Daily News, was banned after a legal battle.

The remaining independent press is largely confined to two weeklies, the Standard and the Zimbabwe Independent. Another weekly, The Zimbabwean, is produced in London and distributed in Zimbabwe as an international publication.

Because of rampant inflation, cover prices have spiralled and are beyond the reach of many Zimbabweans. Publishers have been hit by escalating printing and newsprint costs.

A range of draconian laws and institutions, along with prison sentences for "publishing false news", are used to clamp down on critical comment. Journalists who fail to register with a government body risk imprisonment.

State-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) operates the country's only TV and radio stations. ZBC formerly had two TV channels; its second network was leased to private station Joy TV which closed in 2002. Some of its programmes were said to have ruffled government feathers.   Surveillance, threats, imprisonment, censorship, blackmail, abuse of power and denial of justice are all brought to bear to keep firm control over the news.

Radio is the main source of information for many Zimbabweans. Although there are no private stations, the country is targeted by overseas-based operations.

The Voice of the People, set up by former ZBC staff with funding from the Soros Foundation and a Dutch organisation, operates using a leased shortwave transmitter in Madagascar.

Another station, the UK-based SW Radio Africa, aims to give listeners in Zimbabwe "unbiased information".

From the US, the government-funded Voice of America (VOA) operates Studio 7, a twice-daily service for listeners in Zimbabwe which aims to be a source of "objective and balanced news".

The press

  • The Herald - government-owned daily
  • The Chronicle - Bulawayo-based, government-owned daily
  • The Financial Gazette - private, business weekly
  • The Standard - private, weekly
  • Zimbabwe Independent - private weekly

Television

  • Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) - state-run, operates ZTV1

Radio

  • Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) - state-run, operates National FM, Power FM, Radio Zimbabwe and S-FM
  • SW Radio Africa - studio in London, broadcasts via mediumwave (AM) transmitter based outside Zimbabwe.
  • Voice of the People - broadcasts to Zimbabwe from hired shortwave transmitter on Madagascar.
  • Studio 7 - based in Washington DC, operated by VOA.

News agency

  • New Ziana - state-run
  • ZimOnline - private, South Africa-based
  • Zimdaily.com - private, UK-based
  • The Zimbabwe Times - private, US-based

At a Glance:

  • Radio broadcast stations: AM 7, FM 20 (plus 17 repeater stations), shortwave 1 (1998).
  • Radios: 1.14 million (1997).
  • Television broadcast stations: 16 (1997).
  • Televisions: 370,000 (1997).
  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 6 (2000).
  • Internet users: 1 million (2005).
Last Updated on Monday 4th August 2008