According to the poll held in the country’s urban areas, there was a growing interest by Zimbabweans to listen to such channels as the Radio Voice of the People (Radio VOP) Voice of America (VOA)’s Studio 7 and British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) in the wake of biased coverage from the state controlled Zimbabwe Television.
ZAMPS, a leading market observer, which surveyed a sample of 2 000 consumers in each town, said ZTV’s viewer ship rankings had drastically dropped down in the face of competition from free-to-air channels.
Radio VOP broadcasts on 11610KHz on short wave from 6.00 to 7.00 am everyday. It also runs a 24 hour news website on www.radiovop.com
Radio VOP board said at the weekend that it is intending to resume its evening programme, which has always been its flagship and a hit, especially in the rural areas.
“Plans are afoot to restore our evening programme,” said Radio VOP in a statement. “We did our own internal research and found out that the rural folk listen most to the evening programme, as compared to the mornings when they will be busy in the fields or doing other chores.”
Zanu PF under its leader President Robert Mugabe has called for the ban of exiled media together with an end of Western sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The survey also showed that the Prime Minister’s newsletter, published from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office was enjoying a 11 percent market share, showing that conventional state media outlets had lost a great market share.
Analysts say this is an indication that the readers are shunning away from Zanu PF propaganda and the failure by government to open up the media space to allow more players in radio, television and print.
Zanu PF and the two MDCs’ agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to open up the airwaves and allow Zimbabwean journalists abroad to come and operate from home. Recently President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangira and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara agreed to the appointment of a nine-member Zimbabwe Media Commission to among other things look into the licensing of new players in both the print and electronic media.