Matabeleland Communities Least Exposed To Local Media

Poor radio and television transmission in Matabeleland provinces which has haunted communities since 1980 could soon be a thing of the past if the government of Zimbabwe  is able meet next months deadline for all countries to digitilise.

According to latest results of the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) by the Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) Matabeleland South and North provinces are the least exposed to media.

Border towns of Plumtree, Beitbridge and Victoria Falls have been having problems of receiving broadcasting transmission since the dawn of independence and communities have raised concern over the issue.

Most people in remote parts of Matabeleland region have been left with no option but to subscribe to satelite television and consume programmes from independent radio stations on Short wave and Channel Zim on free-to-air satellite television.
Addressing delegates at a workshop in Beitbridge for the dissemination of MICS results Catherine Butai from the ministry media,information and broadcasting services said according to the survey the two provinces have the least number of people reading newspapers, watching television or listening to radio in both

 “1,2% of women and 3,2% men in Mat North are exposed to all three types of media while in Mat South while 2,2% of women and 4,3% of men have access to the media every week,” said Butai.
The survey also indicates that the two provinces have the lowest percentage of people who are accessing computers in Zimbabwe.
 Delegates at the meeting attributed the low percentage on access to media in Matabeleland due to poor transmission. Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) is hardly accessible in most parts of Beitbridge and Plumtree.

Talent Moyo, the Beitbridge District Information Officer attributed the lack of exposure in the two provinces to the analogue technology the country is currently using and the fact that newspaper publications were not reaching out to outlaying areas.

“Newspapers that are in circulation do not reach out to communities in rural areas and at times even here (Beitbridge) papers come the next day and news would be outdated,” said Moyo.

Butai said the problem of poor transmission would be solved when the country migrates to digitalization.

 The minister of media, information and broadcasting services, Johnathan Moyo announced that Zimbabwe needs $173 million to complete digitalization.

 Zimbabwe, along with other countries  globally, is supposed to migrate its TV broadcasting from the current analogue technology to the digital technology by 17 June 2015, a deadline which has been set by the International Telecommunications Union for all countries to digitilise.

However, it remains to be seen whether the cash strapped Zimbabwe government would be able to meet next month’s digitisation deadline.