Pamela Shumba, Senior reporter
The GOVERNMENT reaffirmed its support for content producers in the country as it moves up a gear in the process of migrating from analogue television to digital television and broadcasting.
Information, Media and Broadcasting Services Minister Dr Chris Mushohwe told content producers at Chinotimba Hall in Victoria Falls yesterday that the government is ready to help every Zimbabwean who wants to participate in the digitization project .
Minister Mushohwe is on a nationwide tour to mobilize content producers for the digitization program.
He is accompanied by his deputy Cde Sithokozile Mathuthu, the permanent secretary Mr. George Charamba, officials from the ministry, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), Trans Media and the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
âThe government, through my ministry, is committed to helping every Zimbabwean who wishes to participate in this global crusade. We have made funds and resources available to ensure the success of this project. When the project starts, we will have 12 channels that will run for 24 hours. That means we’re going to need a lot of producers, writers, technical directors, editors, sound designers, costume designers, production designers, and actors. Some will benefit directly while others will benefit indirectly, âsaid Dr Mushohwe.
He said the digitization project was a major Zim-Asset project that required the full participation of all talented Zimbabweans.
âWe want 75% of our content to be local and in order for us to fill the 12, that requires maximum participation from everyone. If you have talent, it’s content. Young men and women should benefit from this project because it will create the two million jobs we talked about.
âWe don’t want to wait for white men to come back and provide us with jobs. Let us prove to the world that we can be successful without the help of whites, âsaid Dr Mushohwe.
He added that it was a shame that residents of Binga and other parts of the country had not been able to access local radio and television programs for the past 37 years, adding that this would soon be a thing of the past.
The Minister urged the residents of Victoria Falls to support each other in creating content and advised them to produce the content in their local languages.
âNo language is better or superior to the other. The constitution recognizes 16 Zimbabwean languages ââand these must all be respected. So I encourage our content producers in Victoria Falls to produce content in their local languages.
âThe government is ready to help. No producer will spend money to produce their content. The government will provide the funds and the resources and the producers will be paid when their products are filmed on television, âsaid Dr Mushohwe.
Mr Charamba said the digitization project, which will create thousands of jobs, will see the construction of three large state-of-the-art content centers in Victoria Falls, Bulawayo and Harare.
âThese content centers will be of international standards and they will respond to our communities and meet the demands of Africa. We will also have smaller content centers in provincial capitals across the country.
âIn terms of progress, the province of Matabeleland North is leading the digitization project. When you compare the province with others, it is miles ahead. So I expect maximum production from this province. The province must keep this lead, âsaid Mr. Charamba.
He assured content producers that the ministry made sure the project had a legal basis to protect their productions for free.
The digitization program is in line with international trends and the requirement for countries to migrate to digital TV broadcasting in order to avoid situations of interference between countries.
It involves the replacement of all existing analog equipment with new digital equipment for television studios and television transmission equipment in the country.
This will enable Zimbabweans to benefit from a modern television broadcasting platform with service capacity to empower new television players in Zimbabwe as well as better reception of television services.
The process will also provide a business opportunity for independent producers to deliver content to broadcasters.
– @ pamelashunba1